How many Jews live in Europe today? According to a new study by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research in London, there are 1.3 million Jews living in Europe, including Britain, Turkey and Russia – a 1,000 year low.
This is the same number recorded 900 years ago by famed Jewish traveler Binyamin of Tudela in 1170.
In 1900, European Jews comprised 83% of the world’s Jews but currently comprise only 9% of Jews worldwide. Today, most of the world’s Jews – 45% – live in their Biblical homeland of Israel.
Europe has lost 60% of its population since 1970, when there were 3.2 million Jews living there, the study showed. This decline was mainly due to the 1.5 million Jews who left Europe after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
Jews have also been leaving western Europe, and the Jewish population there has shrunk by 8.5% since 1970. Jews in France, home to the largest Jewish population in Europe, have been steadily leaving the country due to rising anti-Semitism, with most of its Jews emigrating to Israel and Canada. Between 2000 and 2017, 10% of the Jewish population in France made aliyah to Israel.
Another country that has seen a steady exit of Jews is Turkey, which currently has 14,600 Jews, less than half of its population of 39,000 Jews in 1970. Many Turkish Jews have left due to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s policies.
The report also found that Germany’s Jewish population is “terminal,” with 40% of its 118,000 Jews over the age of 65, and only 10% under the age of 15. This reality is similar to the situation of the Jewish populations in Russia and Ukraine.
Unfortunately, the Jewish populations of many other European countries are disappearing due to a low birth rate and assimilation and/or intermarriage. Tragically, a full 70% of Jews in Poland marry non-Jews, 50% of Jews in Hungary, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden marry non-Jews, 31% in France, 24% in the UK, and 14% in Belgium.
The only exceptions to the decline of Jewish populations in Europe, which is attributed to intermarriage, low fertility rates, and emigration are four countries with sizeable frum communities: Austria, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland, which “may be growing, or at least, not declining,”
The study also noted that about 70,000 Israelis have settled in Europe, which is a far lower number than reports estimating there are tens of thousands of Israelis in Berlin alone. There are 18,000 Israelis residing in Britain, 10,000 in Germany, 9,000 in France, and 6,000 in the Netherlands.
Israelis have been a boon for countries with very small Jewish communities — for example, they account for over 40% of all Jews in Norway, Finland and Slovenia; 20–30% in Spain, Denmark, Austria, and the Netherlands; and over 10% in Luxembourg.
In summary, the study stated that there are 14,410,700 million Jews in the world today, according to the Knesset’s Aliyah, Absorption and Diaspora Committee, with 45% or 6,740,000 of them living in Israel, 6,088,000 in North America, 1,329,400 in Europe, 324,000 in South America, 300,000 in Asia, 120,000 in Australia and New Zealand and 74,000 in Africa.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)