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Number of Jews in Europe falls to 1,000-year low

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New research from the London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research puts the Jewish population of the continent, including Britain, Russia, and Turkey, at the same number cited by famed Jewish traveler Benjamin of Tudela in 1170.

The number of Jews in Europe, including Britain, Turkey, and Russia, has fallen to a 1,000-year low, a new study conducted by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research in London and published on Sunday shows.

According to the study, there are only 1.3 million people currently living in Europe who define themselves as Jews. This is the same number counted by famous Jewish traveler and scholar Benjamin of Tudela in 1170.

The study shows that since 1970, Europe has lost some 60% of its Jewish population. In 1970, there were 3.2 million Jews living in Europe. According to the study, 1.5 million Jews left Europe after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

Apart from that emigration, Jews have been leaving countries in western Europe, such as France. In 1970, France was home to 530,000 Jews, whereas today, only 449,000 Jews live in France. A total of 51,455 French Jews moved to Israel, while others emigrated to Canada in response to anti-Semitism in France.

The study also found that 40% of Germany’s 118,000 Jews are over 65, with only 10% of the country’s Jewish population under the age of 15 – meaning that Germany’s Jewish population is aging and beginning to disappear.

The institute’s study is based on data from the 2018 European Union census as well as on in-depth research conducted by Jewish communities on the continent, and presents a less rosy picture of current-day Jewish life in Europe than statistics cited by some other Jewish organizations. The European Jewish Congress, for example, cites the Jewish population of Europe at over 1.9 million, whereas the World Jewish Congress puts it at 1,438,000.

A member of the Jewish community inspects tombstones desecrated by vandals in a cemetery in Brumath near Strasbourg. A member of the Jewish community inspects some of the 92 tombstones desecrated by vandals with Nazi swastikas and anti semitic slogans in the Jewish cemetery of Brumath near Strasbourg October 31, 2004.It is the third time in the last six months that Jewish cemeteries have been desecrated in the Alsace region. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler ????? *** Local Caption *** ??? ??????

Researchers from the Institute for Jewish Policy Research note “quiet” Jewish emigration from many European countries, both because of growing anti-Semitism and other reasons, including communities that collapse because of assimilation. In 1970, there were 39,000 Jews living in Turkey, whereas only 14,600 Jews call Turkey home today. Of those, many are leaving in response to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s policies.

Intermarriage is also having an effect on Jewish communities – in Poland, 70% of Jews marry non-Jews. In Hungary, that figure stands at 50%. Half of Jews in the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden also marry outside the Jewish community. In France, 31% of Jews marry non-Jewish partners. In Britain 24% of Jews marry non-Jewish partners. Belgium, home to a large Haredi community, is seeing intermarriage of 14%.

Another interesting figure the study brings to light is that despite reports in Israel, only 70,000 Israelis have chosen to make Europe their permanent home: 18,000 in Britain; 10,000 in Germany; 9,000 in France; and 6,000 in the Netherlands.

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