European Jews tie their future prosperity and safety to the success of the EU
In the late 19th century, 88 percent of the world’s Jewish population lived in Europe. Today, a groundbreaking new study shows that the figure has tumbled to nine percent, including Britain, Turkey, and Russia – the lowest proportion in more than 800 years.
Yet, Professor Sergio DellaPergola insists that European Jewry is persisting, even thriving. DellaPergola, Professor Emeritus of Population Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, is Mr. Jewish Demography, one of the unquestioned leaders in the field.
From 3.2 million in 1970, European Jewry has dropped to a total of 1.3 million. Most of the loss occurred after the breakup of the Soviet Union, with the former communist empire’s Jewish population leaving for Israel and other more stable and prosperous destination.
In contrast, Jewish communities in continental Western Europe have grown in numbers and engagement. DellaPergola points to France, which saw a dramatic increase in its Jewish community, thanks to several hundred thousands of Sephardic immigrants from former North African colonies.
European Jews tie their future prosperity and safety to the success of the European Union. In large numbers, Jews support the EU and its commitment to democracy, human rights, and the protection of minorities. In Hungary, for example, 61 percent of Jews are in favor of the EU compared to 19 percent of the total population. Elsewhere, the gap is less pronounced but still visible.
Photo: Opening of the Lauder Jewish day school in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2019.
At NOA (Networks Overcoming Antisemitism), we work to advance a Europe where Jewish life can thrive.