For Dellapergola, Israel's demographic future constitutes its central dilemma -- and this predicament has only been sharpened by the results of the recent election. Essentially, Israel faces two choices: It can be a conglomerate of tribes struggling against each other, or an open society that respects cultural and religious differences, where each citizen participates in building the economy and shaping the state's institutions.
Even more fundamentally, demographic trends mean that Israel can't have it all. It can't be a Jewish state, a democratic state, and a state in control of its whole historical land. It can only have two of its objectives at a time. Think of it this way: Israel can be Jewish and territorial -- but not democratic. Or it can be democratic and territorial -- but not Jewish. Or finally, it can be Jewish and democratic -- but not territorial. This third choice is the one that can conceivably lead to a two-state solution.
If you've ever read Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, Dellapergola's projections have a ring of the Ghost of Christmas Future to them. Choices will have to be made. If they are not, Dellapergola seems to be saying that demographic realities will make the decisions, not Israel's leaders.In other words, Israel cannot afford to ignore the demographic changes that are taking place within its own borders--never mind what is happening elsewhere in the region.