Percentage of World Jewry Living in Israel Steadily Increasing

According to the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, a project of the Jewish Agency, 41 percent of all Jews now live in Israel.

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Nissan Ratzlav-Katz ,

Israeli Jewish kids; Jewry's growth sector
Israeli Jewish kids; Jewry's growth sector
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According to the 2007 Annual Report of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute (JPPPI), a project of the Jewish Agency, 41 percent of all Jews now live in Israel.

At the beginning of 2007, the total world Jewish population was 13,155,000, an overall
Unlike their Diaspora brethren, Jews in Israel "have relatively high and steady birth rates."
growth rate of 0.5 percent over the previous year's figures. The Diaspora experienced a net decrease in population of 20,000 Jews, while Israel's Jewish population increased by 80,000 souls.

The report found that, unlike their Diaspora brethren, Jews in Israel "have relatively high and steady birth rates." Israel's 1.5 percent increase and the Diaspora's 0.2 percent decrease in Jewish population "continued the well established patterns of past years," according to the JPPPI report.

In 2004, the JPPPI reported that under 40 percent of world Jewry lived in Israel, while in 2002, according to Israeli government statistics, that figure was 37 percent. Projecting ahead, the latest JPPPI report showed that nearly 46 percent of the world's Jews will be found in Israel in the year 2020.

The largest single Jewish population bloc is that of North America, with 5.7 million people, according to JPPPI, but decreasing rapidly. However, there was a minor Jewish population increase in Canada by 2007. Nevertheless, assuming no radical migration changes, the North American Jewish population will be outstripped by Israel within the next decade or so, per JPPPI statistics.

Significant decreases in Jewish population were noted in Europe, Latin America and Africa. The JPPPI report further noted, "The overall Jewish population numbers in Europe are at a historic low. Due to emigration, assimilation and an aging population, many communities are set to shrink further or to vanish altogether." Germany's Jewish population, however, "continued to increase, but France and the United Kingdom['s] declined."

A Stable Nuclear Family is the Key
Analyzing the Israeli birthrates and increasing population figures, the 2007 JPPPI report determined that "a persisting preference for nuclear families with children stand behind an annual natural population increase of about 70,000."

JPPPI reported that 2006 saw the highest number of Jewish births ever recorded in the country (104,000). The Israeli birthrate, while still high compared to most of the West, is affected by the high birthrate of the Hareidi-religious population of Israel. According to JPPPI, Hareidi women have an average of 4.7 children, compared to 2.7 for the general Israeli Jewish population and 1.1 for Jewish women in the Diaspora. "In 2007, one of every three Jewish Israeli children registered in grade 1 is in one of the Hareidi school
Significant decreases in Jewish population were noted in Europe, Latin America and Africa.
systems," the report said.

And so is Education
"Evidence from all over the world shows that children attending Jewish day schools are more likely to develop a Jewish identity," the 2007 JPPPI report declared.

Hence, researchers at the institute reported that the Jewish population abroad could be split into two groups: a religious population with a growing sense of connection to Israel and a non-religious population that has a higher rate of intermarriage and a weakening connection to Judaism and Israel. They called on Israel to do more to reach out to non-religious Jews living abroad.

Migration: An Insignificant Factor
Shifts in the distribution of world Jewry were barely influenced by international migration, as Jews left Israel and came to live in their old-new homeland in nearly equal numbers.

A total of 19,000 new immigrants went to Israel in 2006, 9 percent less than in 2005. There was an increase in Aliyah to Israel from North America and Europe overall, yet a decrease in immigration from France and the Slavic states. In any event, the JPPPI report said, "Immigration is significantly off-set by out-migration, leading to an international migration balance close to zero."






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