The Guardian of all good places published a story earlier this week (h/t Natalie Schachar) announcing that Israel’s Jewish population had passed six million. For obvious symbolic reasons, this was newsworthy.
Figures released by the central bureau of statistics this week show the total population of Israel at 7.98 million, 75.4% of whom are Jewish. Just over 20% are Arab and 4% are defined as “other”.
“It’s a great joy to know there are more than 6 million Jews in Israel,” said Dina Porat, chief historian of Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum and head of the Kantor centre for the study of contemporary European Jewry.
“But worldwide we are still in the same place. Before the Holocaust there were around 18 million Jews in the world; after it, a bit more than 13 million. We are still at a bit more than 13 million.
Professor Anita Shapira of Tel Aviv University added this:
Six million was a “significant number, but living Jews do not compensate for dead Jews. The number [6 million] symbolises a catastrophe, not a recuperation. We are still paying for the Holocaust.”
The Guardian story went on, adding insights from former Israeli speaker Avraham Burg, before bringing about the issue of Israel’s demographic concerns vis-a-vis the Palestinians.
Is it right to link these two sets of numbers?