The Jewish diaspora is a term that is used to refer to the dispersion of the Jews out of their ancestral homes and the subsequent settlement in different parts of the globe. In the Hebrew Bible, the word “exile” refers to the Israelites and the Judahites who were captured from the Kingdom of Judah and taken into exile. While in exile, the Judahites were referred to as the “Jews.” The word “Jew” is first mentioned in the Book of Esther in the Bible. As of 2016, there are approximately 14.4 million Jews spread across the world. Less than half of the Jewish population are in Israel, their original home. But where is the Jewish diaspora?
Israel is considered the state of the Jewish people. It is part of God’s Promised Land to the descendants of Abraham which is referred to as Canaan in the Bible. Israel was founded in 1948 and was meant to provide a permanent settlement for the Jews who were scattered around the world. Today, Israel has the highest number of Jews, approximately 6.3 million, accounting for 44% of the Jewish population in the world. The Jews in Israel are the majority, accounting for about 74% of the population. The Jewish population has increased more than 10 times compared to 1948 when Israel was founded.
The United States
During the Holocaust, a large number of Jews fled to the US for safety. Although the number of Jew in the US has been a subject of debate because of the counting methodology, it is estimated that approximately 5.7 million of them live in the country or 39.5% of the Jewish population. The number of the Jewish population in the US has grown in absolute numbers since World War II. However, with Israel stabilizing and growing economically, it is only a matter of time before the American Jews return to where they “belong.”
France, Canada, and the UK
France, Canada, and the UK are also home to a significant number of Jews. Together, the three countries play host to approximately 1.2 million Jews. France has the largest Jewish population in Europe at 460,000 Jews with the number depending on the definition of the term Jew. With 290,000 Jews, the UK has the second-largest number of Jews in Europe. The Canadian Jews are approximately 388,000, accounting for approximately 1.1% of the Canadian population. Other countries with a significant number of Jewish diaspora include Argentina, Russia, Germany, and Australia. At least 100,000 Jews and their descendants live in each of the mentioned countries.
Highest Population Of Jews
The Americas have the highest population of Jews outside of Israel at 6.4 million, accounting for 0.66% of total America’s population. More than 90% of the American Jews live in Canada and the US. Approximately 6.3 million Jews live in Asia, with the majority found in Israel. Asian Jews make up 0.15% of the total Asian population. In Africa, there are only 70,000 Jews, accounting for 0.01% of the African population. About 1.7 million Jews are living in Europe with more than half the Jewish population residing in France and the UK.