Ha’aretz‘s Akiva Eldar takes manipulation of facts and figures to new heights in order to deceive his readers that the Government of Israel has acknowledged that Jews have become a minority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. While the government has, in fact, done no such thing, Ha’aretz has yet again given Israel’s haters cause for celebration.
In his article yesterday (“The Jewish majority is history“), Eldar manipulates selective and distorted figures to promote his worldview. Not only did he deceive Ha’aretz‘s readers, but his irresponsible article has spread like wildfire across the Internet, fueling the war of lies against Israel. The subheadline on the English print edition of the article underscores that the government’s admission (which never was) boosts Eldar’s agenda:
The online subheadline is particularly shocking:
Let’s try to lay out Eldar’s false claim, which is based on an item which appeared several days earlier in The Marker, a financial newspaper published by Ha’aretz, regarding the Export Promotion Law. According to this law, a factory is eligible for tax benefits intended to promote exports if at least 25 percent of its income stemmed from sales in markets of at least 12 million residents. Approximately one week ago, the Ministry of Finance sought to revise the law and increase the threshold to 14 milllion residents. Why? Because, wrote Eldar, the population of Israel together with the Palestinian Authority has already reached 12 million people, and therefore manufacturers who sell only to the local market are eligible for the aforementioned tax benefit even though it was not intended for them.
Apparently, Eldar did not at all read the Ministry of Finance’s memorandum upon which he relied. He wrote:
A Ministry of Fiance memorandum on the amendment to the law notes that in 2011 the population of Israel and the Palestinian Authority exceeded the 12 million mark, which enables manufacturers who market to these consumers to enjoy a tax break.
This is an outright falsehood. The memorandum, which can be read (in Hebrew) here, does not at all refer to the population of Israel or the Palestinian Authority and does not mention its number of residents, Jews or Arabs. The relevant excerpt from the memorandum follows:
Since Amendment 60 went into affect, more than seven years ago, the law has not been revised despite the increase in the world’s population and its markets.
It is recommended to amend clause 18a of the law and to determine what will constitute a manufacturer which contributes to the economic independence of the national economy and a competitor for the local product if 25 percent or more of its income from the manufacturer’s sales in the tax year are to a certain market of at least 14 million residents.
It is also recommended to establish a mechanism to automatically update the number of residents that constitute a substantial market, of 2 percent per year, in accordance with the world’s population growth rate. (Emphases added.)
In other words, the Ministry of Finance is concerned with the growth of the world’s population, not with Israel’s population. Moreover, the number 12 million does not even appear in the entire memorandum. It only appears in Hila Raz’s item in The Marker:
Since 2011 the population in Israel and the Palestinian Authority has surpassed the threshold of 12 million residents, and so an Israeli industrialist who sells to these populations is entitled to enjoy the tax benefit.
That is not a figure from the Ministry of Finance. It is an unsubstantiated claim by The Marker reporter. And Eldar has turned it into an official, governmental statistic.
Eldar then manipulates a real statistic. He writes:
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics (which is subordinate to the Prime Minister’s Office), of the 12 million residents living under Israel rule, the number of Jews is just under 5.9 million (as of April 25).
This is a manipulation given that the figure 12 million does not appear in the April 25 CBS press release (Hebrew only). Again, this is a figure that Eldar pulled from The Marker. Eldar’s wording implies that the CBS (which is subordinate to the Prime Minister’s Office) also endorses this figure. And yet, it never did.
Eldar preempts the question that inevitably arises: Are Gaza’s residents also included in the 12 million? He writes:
There will certainly be those who argue that the 12 million includes the residents of the Gaza Strip, which Israel evacuated, and that I should have deducted 1.5 million people from the number of non-Jewish residents. But the 12 million, which does happen to include the residents of th e Gaza Strip, is an official figure appearing on Ministry of Finance stationary. If this population “is not considered” for purposes of the demographic balance, the Finance Ministry should be so kind to deduct it from the limit for receiving the tax breaks and from the balance of its income.
As we have already shown, there is no “official figure appearing on Ministry of Finance stationary,” and therefore his convolutions in the above paragraph are absurd. The fact that he engages in logical acrobatics underscores the fact that even he can’t take seriously his attempt to include Gaza residents among those “living under Israeli rule,” as he puts it.