sraeli professor Alon Tal is very very concerned about a “looming crisis” threatening his country. “Given that Israel has the highest birthrate in the developed world” writes Tal on the New York Times opinion page “those who care about its future should realize that demographic growth is no longer a blessing but a threat to the quality of life in the Jewish state.”

For a quarter century Tal has “worked hard to protect Israel’s environment: organizing demonstrations writing legislation even suing polluters.” But “[e]ventually it dawned on me that… our efforts may be futile in the long run — because we’re addressing only symptoms not causes.” Those causes are the many little human beings that maddeningly keep being born in Eretz Yisrael. In 2005 Tal’s tireless work even earned him the Bronfman prize described as a “humanitarian award for young leaders ” a strange honor for someone who thinks we have more than enough humans already.

Or at least enough Jews. He writes that “the loss of six million Jews in the Holocaust made pro-natal policies axiomatic in the young state of Israel… [But this] reason is [not] valid today: The global total of Jews which had fallen to 11 million in 1945 has rebounded to pre–World War II levels.” So everything’s just fine now since we all know there aren’t any Nazi-like bad people around looking to exterminate us anymore.

Tal writes that in “a country that argues over everything else overpopulation it seems is one issue we never want to address.” But he wants to undermine that unfortunate national consensus in favor of human life and so he has written a book entitled The Land Is Full — Addressing Overpopulation in Israel. It has glowing approbations from the likes of government ministers Technion professors and Jerusalem Post columnists.

And one more from Paul Ehrlich: “In this brilliant book a leading environmental scientist Alon Tal focuses attention on a key element in his nation’s ecological predicament — its vast overpopulation.” Paul Ehrlich… why does that name sound so familiar? Ah yes he’s the Stanford entomologist specializing in butterflies who in 1968 published The Population Bomb warning that overpopulation would cause the deaths of “hundreds of millions” within a couple years. He was a major personality an advisor to three presidents. Hundreds of millions didn’t die nor even millions but he did sell millions of books.

Believing that the “freedom to breed is intolerable” he advocated that government officials quietly add anti-fertility drugs to the water supply and later co-authored another book pushing for mass sterilizations and forced abortions. So if Paul Ehrlich thinks Tal’s book is brilliant that’s quite a haskamah.

Tal shares the “terrific news” that “the number of people moving to Israel roughly equals the number leaving” and thus immigration isn’t contributing to the crisis that has Tal so frightened. It’s only “Israel’s high fertility rate” — those little human beings — “that puts it on an unsustainable course. This didn’t happen naturally; it is the result of decades of government programs that encouraged large families and created obstacles to abortion.”

On that last point here’s Tablet’s Yair Rosenberg describing the state of abortion in Israel one year ago:

By any measure Israel has some of the most liberal abortion policies in the world — [even] among Western democracies. Today in Israel abortions are legal at any stage of pregnancy often subsidized by the state and overseen by committees of social workers and doctors that typically approve 98% of all requests. Last year the government allocated an additional 16 million shekel (4.6 million dollars) to make abortion free for all women between the ages of 20 and 33.

Professor Tal lives in an Israeli town called Maccabim which I suppose makes sense for one who favors the few over the many. But I wonder how he feels about Tel Aviv. No not because it has been voted the world’s best travel destination for those practicing a certain “lifestyle” that will not bring any human beings into the world at all.

According to the Jewish Week Tel Aviv also has another world-wide distinction:

Ahead of its dog festival called Kelaviv (a portmanteau of “kelev” Hebrew for “dog” and Tel Aviv) Tel Aviv declared itself the friendliest world city for dogs with the most dogs per capita… What makes Tel Aviv unique is less numbers than attitude. Dogs crowd the streets of Tel Aviv encouraged by its year-round sunshine and walkability. They’re allowed in most cafes stores and even high-end restaurants as well as on city buses and trains and in taxi vans.

And so I wonder. Mr. Tal writes that “People also pay a steep price for surging population density… soaring prices are a national affliction all fueled by ever-growing demand. Poverty too will never be reduced until the country checks the relentless expansion of its population.” So is he perturbed by the scene at “Kelaviv ” where

hundreds of dogs took over Yehoshua Park and its dog park…As canine customers wandered among vendors selling dog-related products and services a DJ kept tails wagging with pop hits. One of the longest massages of the day went to a luxuriating yellow Labradormix. Nearby a pair of well-kept poodles snacked on maki tuna rolls and posed for professional photos.

Leashed shoppers sampled organic gluten-free kibble tried on boutique collars and leashes and eyed bespoke dog tags and local dog-themed art. Orange Tel Aviv–branded dog bowls were regularly refilled with bottled water. Meanwhile the dogs’ owners mingled and forked over the necessary shekels seemingly unfazed by their reduced role in the whole affair.

The professor also bemoans the fact that with “urban development taking over about five square miles of open space every five years Israel’s wildlife is in steep decline.” He’s horrified that during “the Independence Day celebrations tens of thousands of Israelis were turned away from beaches at theSea of Galileeand other recreational areas that were filled to capacity.” So how does he feels about the fact that Tel Aviv boasts 70 dog parks and four dog beaches?

The regular parks and legally dog-free beaches have their fair share of dogs too many of them off-leash regardless of regulations… Though there is more than one dog park every square kilometer… some Tel Aviv residents complained that they had to walk up to 15 minutes to reach one and they would like more greenery for their pooches to play in.

On the other hand perhaps in Tal’s view there is merit after all in Tel Aviv going to the dogs. He pities larger families because “Israeli children growing up in families with two siblings or fewer… generally enjoy better opportunities.” But there’s one opportunity those kids in “one sibling” families simply never have which is the treasure of a brother or sister with whom to play fight laugh cry and learn to get along and share with.

In Tel Aviv however a metropolis gone stark raving mad with (to borrow Reb Shmuel Kunda z”l’s delightful term) “dog-itis” there’s no need to worry:

Israeli experts on human-dog relations [you read that correctly —EK] said the animals play the role of children in the lives of urban millennials who are waiting longer than ever to marry… “[D]ogs help us cope with the loneliness of the postmodern present” Orit Hirsch-Matsioulas a doctoral student in anthropology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev told JTA. “We opened the apartment door to dogs and made them part of the family. People understand their dogs as their own children.”

“Dogs help us cope with the loneliness of the postmodern present.” As I read that sentence I had to put aside the lunacy of the professor and the looneyness of Tel Aviv and just think about those words 11 words so striking in their honesty and in their sadness.