Figures were presented to the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee last week showing that 60 percent of European Jewry has been lost to assimilation since World War II. In response, Yad L'Achim, which stands at the forefront of the battle against assimilation and intermarriage in Israel, responded that the problem is exacting a huge toll in Israel as well.
The figures show that the number of European Jews is at a 1,000-year low due to assimilation. And the future appears even gloomier as a result of continually rising assimilation and the low birth rate. According to the London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research in London, assimilation in Poland stands at 70 percent; in Hungary, Holland, Denmark and Sweden, 50 percent; and in France, no less than 31 percent. In some countries, mainly those of the Former Soviet Union, it is 90 percent.
"The assimilation numbers in Europe, terrible as they are, hide the fact that no-less-worrisome figures can be found right under our noses," said a leading official at Yad L'Achim. "According to our estimates and to surveys, the assimilation rate in Israel ranges between 8 and 10 percent. This is shocking. Every year tens of thousands of Jews enter into relationships with non-Jews – Muslims or Christians – and it doesn't bother anyone. To the contrary, anyone who dares to raise the subject is accused of racism, and targeted. It is time for the government deal with what is happening here in Israel and not invest its energies and monies only in battling assimilation in Europe and the rest of the world."
Yad L'Achim is calling on public activists to take action. "We issue an urgent appeal to Knesset members to push for increased studies in Jewish identity in all educational institutions around the country. Only in this way can we prevent the assimilation of tens of thousands of Jews here in Israel. If we don't wake up now, the crisis may well spin out of control as it has in Europe."