Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Anti-abortion group seeks to keep Israel Jewish

JERUSALEM, May 17 (Reuters) - In the 58 years since its founding, few issues have stalked the state of Israel like demographics -- the fear that Arabs may some day outnumber Jews. Responding to an issue that Jews often refer to as "the demographic threat", a non-profit Jewish group is encouraging poor, pregnant Jewish women who might be considering having an abortion to go ahead and have a child instead. Set up 29 years ago by Eli Schussheim, a surgeon, the Efrat organisation offers women $1,000 of support for a year, including diapers, a crib and baby clothes, if they decide to give birth rather than terminate their pregnancies. It is one of a range of groups whose guiding principle is to prop up Israel's Jewish population amid statistics showing that the Arab birthrate is twice that of Jewish families.

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