Jewish Journal

End to Number of Israeli Migrants Debate

by Pini Herman

March 19, 2012 | 12:01 pm

Even Yemenite Jews Were Born in Israel

Finally, computerization of population censuses and databases combined with learned estimation has produced the information that about 3% of the world’s population, 214 million people, have migrated across international borders.  One in four of the world’s Jews has migrated from one country to another, compared to 5 percent of Christians and 4 percent of Muslims who have left their native lands.  Representing nearly half a million data points, the Global Religion and Migration Database (GRMD) was constructed – the only global database estimating the global migrant population (stock) by origin, destination, and religious affiliation.

Only 330,000 international migrants originated from Israel and only 230,000 of them are estimated to be Jewish.  Even if every one of these Jewish Israeli-born migrants ended up in Los Angeles, it would be be less than the number of Israelis claimed at various times by the Israeli Consulate and various Israeli and Jewish organizations.   

A conservative upper-bound estimate of Jewish Israeli migrants ending up in the U.S. would be about 138,000, or 60 percent of the 230,000 Jewish Israeli-born international migrants.  Los Angeles Jewry’s share of Israeli-born international migrant would be about 21,000, or about 4 percent of the estimated total LA Jewish population.  If one goes to a Jewish setting in LA and there are more than one-in-twenty-five Israelis there, then Israelis are over-represented at the gathering.

It would be a rare Jewish event in LA where Israelis don’t pass the 1-in-25 threshold.  I know of one, and that morning minyan of Holocaust survivors stopped gathering regularly two months ago, for the first time in fifty years.

Israelis, being the Jews-of-the-Jews in LA, are over-represented in every LA Jewish setting,  while second generation American-born Jews are usually conspicuously absent.

Update: Read print article in Jewish Journal 4/27/12 Rumors of Mass Israeli Emigration Are Much Exaggerated

Pini Herman, PhD. has served as Asst. Research Professor at the University of Southern California Dept. of Geography,  Adjunct Lecturer at the USC School of Social Work,  Research Director at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles following Bruce Phillips, PhD. in that position (I was recently notified that with 40,000 visitors this year the 15 year old study of the LA Jewish populationwas third most downloaded study from Berman Jewish Policy Archives in 2011) and is immediate past President of the Movable Minyan a lay-lead independent congregation in the 3rd Street area. Currently he is a principal of Phillips and Herman Demographic Research. To email Pini: pini00003@gmail.com To follow Pini on Twitter:

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Bruce Phillips is Professor of Sociology and Jewish Communal Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles. He has conducted Jewish population...

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