National Post (Latest Edition)

Jewish population nears level of prewar

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JERUSALEM • The world’s Jewish population has grown to be nearly as large as it was before the Holocaust, an Israeli think tank said in its annual report Sunday.

The Jewish People Policy Institute said there are currently 14.2 million Jews in the world. When factoring in individual­s with one Jewish parent and others who identify as partially Jewish, the figure approaches 16.5 million — the Jewish population on the eve of the Second World War. The Nazis and their collaborat­ors murdered about 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.

The report said the rise has been due in part to natural growth, mainly in Israel, which has about 6.1 million Jews and one of the Western world’s highest fertility rates.

But it also linked the growth to “changing patterns of Jewish identifica­tion.” It said that 59 per cent of adult children in the United States who have just one Jewish parent now identify as Jewish, a majority “for the first time in memory.”

Avinoam Bar-Yosef, the institute’s president, said more of those Jews were probably identifyin­g as Jewish because it is more “respectabl­e” to be Jewish in the United States than it was years ago. He also said Birthright-Israel, which organizes educationa­l trips to Israel for young Jewish people, is likely having an impact.

Still, the report said that the number of Jewish Americans who are not Orthodox, yet who have strong Jewish

Canada has third-largest Jewish population in the world

identities and are integrated into American society, is shrinking. It attributed that decrease to a rise in intermarri­age and low birthrates.

The United States has the world’s second largest Jewish population, at 5.7 million. France is a distant third with about 475,000 Jews, followed by Canada.

The report, which was presented to the Israeli cabinet on Sunday, dubs itself an “annual stock-taking of the Jewish world.” It offered policy recommenda­tions to strengthen Jewish identity and foster links between Israel and the internatio­nal Jewish diaspora.

 ?? SEAN GALLUP / GETTY IMAGES ?? There are currently 14.2 million Jews in the world, the Jewish People
Policy Institute says.
SEAN GALLUP / GETTY IMAGES There are currently 14.2 million Jews in the world, the Jewish People Policy Institute says.

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