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Written by Joseph Dunsay. After earning a Masters of Science in Ecology and Evolution, Joseph Dunsay became a science writer for international audiences. Find more Jewrotica writing by Joseph here.
A romantic comedy about a woman who wanted to get pregnant without bothering with marriage became quite popular in Egypt. The film challenged traditional Arab society with a female protagonist who felt empowered enough to get pregnant through the route she chose. It benefited from an unorthodox advertising campaign that involved a fake Facebook page for a woman seeking sperm donations. The page generated thousands of likes and much debate.
The film reflects Jewish beliefs in the way it values female choice and pregnancy. Israel is a rare combination of industrialized modernity and traditional family values. Israelis celebrate population growth. Israelis understand that population growth and economic growth can create a positive feedback loop that makes a nation greater. Israeli’s low unemployment rate, educated workforce, and rising population prove that large families can coincide with economic wellbeing.
Despite Israel’s example, population experts at the UN see population growth in the Middle East and North Africa as a problem to solve. Although their report highlighted some important goals, such as empowering youth, improving literacy, and achieving gender equality, it took a paternalistic view towards Arab wombs. UN experts paradoxically want to empower Arab youth to reduce family sizes for the sake of the environment, not just out of concern for Arabs. Like the architects in biblical Babylon, they feared natural disaster should people dare to cover the earth by being fruitful and multiplying.
Some number crunchers build bureaucracies to restrict reproduction so that the land does not become more crowded. Some geeks dream of building more land. The Seasteading Institute tackles the technical and social challenges of building floating nations on the seas. Their newly launched book promises to restore the environment, improve the lives of low income people, and free people from politicians. Seasteading enthusiasts plan to replace French Polynesian islands with seasteads as the oceans rise. Given the current situation in the Middle East and North Africa, this innovation could do much good in the region.
American Jewish institutions have proven their concern for Arab refugees by fighting to keep the gates to America open for them. They should be willing and able to help Arabs who want to immigrate to start-up floating nations. Engineering skills, local knowledge, fluency in Arabic, and experience building kibitzes from scratch can be found within the Israeli workforce. Teamwork across the Atlantic can create new lands for Arab refugees to settle in while politicians haggle over immigration to existing terra firma.
An American Jewish non-profit could fund the start-up floating communities and charter them as boats that wave American flags. Israeli employees can build these structures and put them in the Mediterranean Sea for Arabs to settle in. Settlements might eventually float relocate to the Atlantic Ocean. Working together, American Jews and Israelis can help Arabs escape dire circumstances and start the next stage of their lives in a bold new maritime nation. If we will it, it is no dream.