Friday, September 26, 2008

AFP Report: Israel Home to Largest Jewish Population for First Time


JERUSALEM, (AFP) - Israel is now home to the largest Jewish community in the world, just ahead of the United States, a semi-governmental organisation said Friday.

There are currently 5.55 million Jews living in Israel and 5.3 million in the United States, according to a report by the Jewish Agency, which is responsible for encouraging and facilitating Jewish immigration.

The two countries account for the vast majority of the world's 13.3 million Jews. The third-largest community resides in France, which has a Jewish population of 490,000, the report said.

Despite a decline in immigration, the net rate of migration remains positive, with some 20,000 Jews moving to Israel in the past 12 months.

Around 20,000 Jews left during that period and another 10,000 Israeli Jews returned from abroad, according to the report.

The numbers were released this week in an annual report in honour of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, which begins at sundown on Monday.

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