Rabat – Of the 14.7 million Jews in the world, 2,000 Jews live in Morocco and 8,500 in Iran.
The Jewish Agency unveiled statistics of the world’s Jewish population on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, literally the “head of the new year,” celebrated on September 9.
A total of 6.6 million Jews live in Israel, while 8.1 million live outside Israel.
According to Haaretz, the statistics were calculated by Sergio Della Pergola, an Israeli expert on Jewish demography.
The number of Jewish people allowed to immigrate back to Israel under the country’s Law of Return, which includes all children and grandchildren of Jews, is estimated at 23.5 million.
Of the 8.1 million Jews who live outside Israel, 27,000 live in Arab and Persian countries. Morocco and Iran have the most, with 2,000 Jews and 8,500 respectively. However, some sources, such as the CIA World Factbook, put Morocco’s population of Jews at 6,000 as recently as 2010. Tunisia has 1,000, while fewer than 500 Jews live in each of Yemen, Syria, and Egypt.
The US has 5.7 million of Jews, the most of any other country but Israel. The second largest Jewish population outside Israel is France with 453;000, followed by Canada with 391,000.
Britain has 290,000 Jews, Argentina 180,000, Russia 172,000, Australia 113,000, Brazil 93,000, and South Africa 69,000.
The Jewish Agency also announced that at least 100 Jews live in a total of 98 countries in the world.
In the second International Conference on Intercultural and Interfaith Dialogue held on September 10-12 in Fez, King Mohammed VI spoke about interfaith issues in Morocco.
The King said that the choice of Fez to host the event is not a random choice as it “has always been a land of dialogue, peace, coexistence and spiritual fulfilment.”
The King also lauded Morocco’s hospitality, emphasizing that Morocco has a unique model in the region.
“Indeed, our history attests to a long-established tradition of coexistence on Moroccan soil—particularly between Muslims and Jews—and to openness to other religions,” said the monarch.
The World Jewish Congress reported in February 2018 that Morocco has the “largest remaining Jewish community in North Africa.”
Morocco has hosted Jewish communities since Roman days. After the Spanish Edict of Expulsion in 1492, some 20,000 Jews emigrated from Granada to Morocco. At their peak before Israel became a state in 1948, Jews in Morocco numbered over 200,000.
Between Israel’s independence and Morocco’s in 1956, most of Morocco’s Jews emigrated from Morocco to Israel, Canada, and France.