Showing posts from April, 2013

How Jewish demographics are changing: The rising Anglo-Hebrews and vanishing Sephardi-Ashkenazis

About 45% of the world's Jews live in Israel.  Another 40% live in the USA. Of course who is a Jew and how you count them is a bit unclear, for example people with Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers (and there are quite a few of them) clearly have a connection to Judaism even if they are not officially Jewish.  I know that in England official figures represent the number of Jews registered with a Synagogue but nobody in my family is remotely orthodox or registered with a Synagogue and yet here I am living in Israel.

One thing is clear: Since the Second World War, there has been a massive shift in Jewish demographics, and part of that shift has been a movement towards English speaking countries.  Millions have left Arab, Moslem and East European countries and moved to Israel and the USA, Canada or Australia. Mainly of course, to the Israel and the USA.  Of the top ten Jewish communities in the World, four are English speaking and the other is Israel.
Of the other significant com…

Academic boycotts of Jews and Israelis: Historical parallels

When one reviews Jewish history one occasionally finds disturbing parallels. Accusations that Zionists were dragging Britain and the USA to war against Iraq were common before the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. I was astonished to find that Mosleyites (British Fascists) had used similar claims back in the Thirties.

The current push to discriminate against Israeli academics may seem new, but it has a history.  It seems that academia is one of the first places to be affected by antisemitism.

Jews were first admitted to the Oxford colleges in the 1880's. In complete contrast to Britain, Russian universities introduced quotas for Jews in the 1880's, Jews were anyway banned from living in most of Russia. After the First World War, the new state of Hungary introduced quotas at its universities. In the USA growing Jewish enrollment at Ivy League universities led to tight quotas allowing only a very small number to attend.

In those days, faced with Pogroms and the like, troubles at univ…

East is East and West is West in the history of Israel

Israeli roads generally run the length of the country, which is a neat North to South (or vice versa) or cross it West to East (or the reverse), which tends to be a lot more narrow. When you drive on the West-East roads signs appear telling you the direction you are driving in. At the top they say מזרח (East) in Hebrew, in the middle is a squiggle in Arabic (saying the same thing) and at the bottom it says in English "East".
If you're bilingual like me then the sign appears to say "East is East", rather like Kipling's Ballad of East and West:

Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,  Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat; 
Few countries epitomize Kiplings poem as wonderfully as Israel. It seems as though the Westernized Jews will never be able to attain peace with the Arabs and the Palestinians.
Kiplings adds that
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,  When two strong men stand fac…