A recent Reuters report was titled: “Israel’s soaring population: Promised Land running out of room?”
As a mother of two daughters born through the technological miracle of IVF, I want to address one particularly pernicious idea in this article. After quoting Israeli “experts” who bemoan their country’s alleged overpopulation, the writers add this: ‘Israeli government policy encourages population growth with benefits such as child allowances, free schooling from the age of three and funding for up to four in vitro fertility treatments a year.’
This implies that IVF is a major driver of population growth. To someone who went through many failed treatments – at great expense – the idea is laughable. Yes, eventually I did achieve two successful pregnancies, thank God. IVF is physically and emotionally very stressful. Furthermore, it is complicated, painful, and success is not guaranteed.
Who would go to such lengths? Only women who desperately want to be mothers. Is it a bad thing that the Israeli government helps such women?!
In the Torah we read that several of the Matriarchs were barren. Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel; also Hannah, mother of the prophet Samuel. These women’s longings are addressed with great poignancy.
“Israel is on the road to an ecological and social disaster,” one professor is quoted by Reuters, “because as the population density rises it becomes more violent, congested and unpleasant to live in and with absolutely no room for any species other than humans.”
Israel is a very beautiful country. It is neither congested nor unpleasant to live in – just the opposite! Outside of the big cities, you will find hundreds of square miles of forests, hiking trails, nature reserves, streams, mountains and valleys, farmland.
There are one billion Muslims in the world, and a like number of both Chinese and Indians. By contrast, there are 14 million Jews, six million of them in Israel. Considering what they have given to humanity, is that really too many Jews?
My IVF daughters are adults now. I thank God for them every day and I love them fiercely. Neither our enemies nor our soi-disant “friends” can threaten our future, as long as Jewish women’s prayers for children continue to be answered.