Half of All Jews Now Live in Israel and That Is a Source of Strength

(Jewish Chronicle-UK) Prof. Vernon Bogdanor - A hundred years ago, in 1922, there were 14,400,000 Jews in the world. The centers of Judaism outside the U.S. were in central and eastern Europe - Berlin, Warsaw and Budapest. There seemed grounds for optimism. In 1922 the League of Nations awarded Britain the Palestine British mandate, which confirmed the legitimacy of Britain's promise in the Balfour Declaration of 1917 of a national home for the Jews. "The wandering Jews will at last have a home," the London Times declared in April 1920. By 1939, the world Jewish population had increased to 17 million. But Jews on the Continent faced a precarious future with the spread of anti-Semitism and the rise of Hitler. Many sought to emigrate, but most countries closed their doors. And in 1939 the British government in its White Paper severely limited immigration into the national home, proposing to end it entirely. In Chaim Weizmann's words, the world was now divided between countries in which Jews were not allowed to live and countries which they were not allowed to enter. By 1945, after the Holocaust the world's Jewish population had fallen to 11 million. Today it is just over 15 million. Jews have not made up the losses of the Holocaust. Between 1939 and 2022, by contrast, the population of the world has increased by 250%. In the absence of the Holocaust, given a natural increase of population, there would perhaps have been a world Jewish population of 40 million. Following the creation of Israel, the geographical balance of the world Jewish population has altered radically. In Palestine in 1939, there were only 450,000 Jews - 3% of the world's total. Today, nearly seven million Jews, almost 50% of the total, live in Israel. In 1948, Jews emerged from powerlessness to become authors of their own destiny. The writer is Professor of Government, King's College, London.

2022-07-28 00:00:00

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