Op-ed: Considering soaring assimilation rates, the Jewish population in many countries around the world will likely disappear completely in six or seven generations. Israel is the only country in the world where the number of Jews keeps growing and the only place where the Jewish people have a future.
I read the forecasts on the Jewish people’s future across the universe in several generations from now very carefully, and with all due respect to the demography experts, I disagree with their forecasts. In my opinion, they are simply too optimistic and incompatible with the reality of the past few years.
After visiting many countries around the world over the years, and being a rationalist, I am convinced there will be a dramatic decrease in the Jewish population in most countries worldwide in six or seven generations from now, and in some countries it will most likely disappear altogether.
For example, if there are about 7,000 Jews living in Denmark, which has less than six million residents, how can they survive? Clearly, most of them won’t find a partner within the community, and everyone knows that mixed marriages usually lead—after several generations—to a loss of the Jewish identity. And that makes complete sense.
What about countries with a relatively large Jewish population? In the United States, for example, the number of Jews in the general population of 327 million residents is about 5.5 million. Clearly, the Jewish community there will last longer than the Jewish community in Denmark, Belgium or Spain.
It’s pretty clear, however, that the American Jewish community will also disappear eventually, apart from the ultra-Orthodox. But the latter make up only a very small percentage of the US Jewry, and the rate of mixed marriages there keeps growing and has already reached 60 percent, according to data.
Even though some of those who live in mixed families claim to lead a Jewish life and maintain a Jewish identity, as the Reform Jews have been trying to convince us, they will assimilate completely within several generations. The undeniable fact is that the Jewish people in the Diaspora are losing tens of thousands of members every year.
If the non-Jewish wife in a mixed family is against performing a circumcision on the couple’s baby boy, what will her Jewish husband do? Divorce her? Of course not. After all, they married out of love and a desire to start a family together. Moreover, the baby isn’t considered Jewish according to the Halacha.
And then the husband convinces himself that he can be Jewish even without circumcising his children, that a Christmas tree at home isn’t a religious act but a traditional custom, that studying in Jewish educational institutions isn’t necessary for maintaining a Jewish identity, etc.
The situation is similar in the opposite case, when the wife is Jewish and the husband isn’t, even if the child is definitely considered Jewish. For how long? Until he marries a non-Jewish woman.
Most members of the Jewish people, who were scattered across the world, managed to survive and avoid assimilation for 2,000 years. Despite decrees and riots and annihilation, they insisted on sticking to their faith and succeeded. And now, when Jews enjoy freedom of religion and faith—at least in Western countries—and aren’t facing an existential threat, many of them are drifting away from their Jewishness.
The only country in the world where the number of Jews keeps growing on an annual basis is Israel, of course. Nearly 6.5 million Jews live in the country today, the birthrate is increasing and the number of immigrants is greater than the number of people who leave the country for different reasons. Seventy years after the Jewish state’s establishment, it is clear to everyone that in light of the growing assimilation rates, the future of the Jewish people can only be found in Israel.