At the 40th annual Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations meeting held in Jerusalem February 17-20, 2014, top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yaalon, Finance Minister Lapid, Economic Minister Bennett, Speaker of the Knesset Edelstein, and Foreign Minister Lieberman addressed the pressing issues of the day. Perhaps the most poignant, if not critical, of the topics discussed was the one raised by Avigdor Lieberman. He railed against the high rate of assimilation plaguing North American Jewry, and charged that “If the current situation continues we will lose another Six Million Jews within a generation or two.” He warned the U.S. Jewish leaders, “You are facing a catastrophe.”
Lieberman asserted that the most critical problem the Jewish people face, whether in Israel or in the diaspora, is demography. Lieberman observed that in Israel today there are 6.1 million Jews, while in America the number of people identifying themselves as Jews is declining, according to the latest Pew Research survey titled A Portrait of Jewish America (October 1, 2013). Lieberman noted the rising levels of mixed marriages in the U.S. involving a non-Jewish partner, which has reached 58%. At the same time, according to the survey’s figures, the number of those identifying themselves as Jews is less than 5.3 million. Moreover, the percentage of Jews in the general population of the U.S. has declined to less than 2% from 3% a generation ago.
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