The Yad L'achim anti-missionary organization called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to do something about the “worrying rise” in assimilation and intermarriage. Speaking at Sunday's cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that while the growth of the Jewish nation in recent years has been significant – last week, it was reported that the number of Jews in the world had reached pre-Holocaust levels – “there would obviously be many more Jews if not for assimilation.”
According to the figures by the Jewish People's Planning Institute, there are about 16 million Jews in the world, but 350,000 of them identify as having “no religion.” Another million living in the U.S. and other countries are the products of mixed marriages. Counting these, the number of Jews in the world today is nearly 16 million, slightly less than the 16.6 million recorded in 1939.
Unfortunately, said Yad L'achim, the Jews in those two categories will probably end up being lost to the Jewish people. “It's not enough to talk about assimilation,” Yad L'achim said. “We need a strategic plan to battle it. If we wish to survive, we must make the issue of assimilation a central one. There is a worrying increase in assimilation. We must institute plans to discourage intermarriage, and educate children in Israel on the dangers of it.”
The group added that the optimism expressed in some circles over the increase in Jewish population was unfounded, since the numbers included many who were already assimilated, and could no longer be considered Jewish.