Sometimes, alarming facts can be concealed behind seemingly innocuous jargon. That is the case with the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life’s latest polling on the “migratory patterns” of religious groups. As it turns out, one particular group is consistently on the move:
Of the seven groups examined in this report, Jews have by far the highest overall level of international migration, in percentage terms. About one-quarter of Jews alive today have left the country in which they were born…
By contrast, only one-in-twenty Christians [the next most migratory religious group] alive today (5%) have emigrated from their country of birth.
Obviously part of the answer has to do with the number of believers the religions claim. If five percent of 2.4 billion Christians migrate, we are talking about 120 million people. If one fourth of the world’s 14 million Jews pack up and move, only 3.4 million are hitting the road.
Still, the high percentage of Jewish migrants is striking, and to understand why these numbers matter, one must turn to the Washington Post, which enlisted experts to explain the reason so many Jews have been on the hunt for greener pastures. The answer is sadly unsurprising:
“The world Jewish community is consolidating,” said Jonathan Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University… “Jews are abandoning Third World countries where historically they had been persecuted and moving to large and generally free First World countries.”
…A positive spin on Jewish migratory trends is that Jews, so often persecuted in their homelands, are safer in their new countries.
But “what we’re losing is one of the great themes of Jewish history,” said Sarna, referring to the collapse of Jewish communities in the Middle East, North Africa and other lands where they had lived for millennia.
In other words, anti-Semitism is alive and well across the globe, and there are millions of persecuted Jewish refugees as a result. That the majority–some three million–have found a haven in Israel is a reminder of that country’s essential importance.
Via Meadia looks forward to the day when people of all faiths are safe in their homes and when hope and not fear is the reason that most people move.