As a state founded on Jewish immigration and the absorption of immigration, what are the ideological and political implications for Israel of a zero or negative migration balance? By closely examining data on immigration and emigration, trends with regard to the migration balance are established. This article pays particular attention to the ways in which Israelis from different political perspectives have portrayed the question of the migration balance and to the relationship between a declining migration balance and the re-emergence of the “demographic problem“ as a political, cultural, and psychological reality of enormous resonance for Jewish Israelis. Conclusions are drawn about the relationship between Israel's anxious re-engagement with the demographic problem and its responses to Iran's nuclear program, the unintended consequences of encouraging programs of “flexible aliyah,“ and the intense debate over the conversion of non-Jewish non-Arab Israelis.
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