Photo Credit: Yossi Zeliger / FLASH90
New immigrants from USA and Canada arriving at Ben Gurion Airport. (Archive: June 26, 2014)

There are 14,410,700 million Jews in the world, the Knesset’s Aliyah, Absorption and Diaspora Committee revealed on Monday, and 45% or 6,740,000 of them live in Israel, 6,088,000 in North America, 1,072,400 in Europe, 324,000 in South America, 300,000 in Asia, 120,000 in Australia and New Zealand and 74,000 in Africa.

Discussing the plight of the communities during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Committee Chairman David Bittan stressed that “if we do not strengthen the communities in the Diaspora – there will be no one to bring to Israel.”

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Large Jewish communities have been severely affected by Corona-related mass deaths, profound damage to the community and its educational activity and the wave of anti-Semitism, and therefore a significant wave of immigration is expected in the next year and a half.

“The Corona plague has spawned a new and unique wave of anti-Semitism around the world, and Israel must condemn the phenomenon of anti-Semitism in all its forms,” he said, warning that Jewish communities in Europe have been facing severe cases of physical assault in recent years, and millions of Europeans continue to hold a wide range of anti-Semitic stereotypes.

According to the Cantor Center’s Anti-Semitism Report, in 2019 there were 456 serious violent incidents, compared to 387 in 2018.

Israel has allocated NIS 20 million to support small Jewish communities around the world.

Diaspora Minister Omer Yankelevich described to the Committee the various heritage, education and community programs her ministry is promoting and called them “a historic milestone in recognizing the commitment of the Israeli government” toward world Jewry.

“Today, large sections of our people are moving away from their Jewish identity and from Israel. We must wake up before it’s too late,” she stated. “Beyond that, it is important to understand that this is a multiplication of power and a strategic asset for Israel in value, security, political and economic sense.”

Diaspora Ministry Director-General Dvir Kahana warned that eight million Jews live in the Diaspora, but 80% of them do not feel connected to Judaism and Jews.

Israel has welcomed more than 255,000 Olim from 150 different countries in the past decade.

Since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, 3.3 million people have made Aliyah, making up 42 percent of the total population.

Israel is expecting a quarter of a million Olim (immigrants) in the next 3-5 years, Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog told the Knesset’s Immigration and Absorption Committee earlier this month, a wave of immigration following the global COVID-19 crisis.

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