A special Commission appointed by the Minister of education and the Minister for relations with the Diaspora Naftali Bennett, presented the report, which refers to the presence of 60 million people with ties to Judaism or Israel, and with the potential repatriation after completing conversion.
The Commission consisted of Professor Benjamin ish-Shalom, attorneys Zvi Hauser and Rotem Yadlin, journalist and former Deputy of the Italian Parliament Fiamah, Nirenstein. Commission was headed by Dr. Ophir-Ivry.
According to the Commission, in the world (including Israel) live 14.3 million Jews according to Halacha and 9 million people falling under the Law of return (children/grandchildren of Jews and their family members).
According to some estimates, the number of people having a direct link with the Jews, but not falling under the law of return (the fourth generation and children were converted) is another 5 million people.
Further, the Commission proceeds to rough estimates the number of those who has a distant relationship with the Jews. Most of them are descendants of Marranos of Portugal and Spain living in the Iberian Peninsula and in Latin America. In General, the number of holders of Jewish blood among them is estimated at 5-7 million people in Europe and another 100-150 million in Latin America. The authors of the report stress that the vast majority of them are not interested in finding Jewish roots and ties with the Jewish people, but 10% -15% of them not only know about their Jewish roots, but one way or another consider themselves Jews. Organization of the descendants of the Marranos are, among others, in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, the southern United States. In particular, in Colombia, only official saranskie of the community, considered all Jews, except the Jews, and observant of Judaism, has more than 4 thousand people, while the official Jewish community has only 2.5 thousand people.
In Italy, about 100 thousand people who are not officially Jews, list of compulsory religious tax to a Jewish organization. Many of them are descendants of forcibly converted.
Another group associated with the Jews, are the descendants of those who hid their Jewishness for fear of persecution of Communist regimes or the Nazis. In particular, more than half of the Jewish community of Warsaw are people who have learned that they belong to the Jews only recently. The Commission estimates tens of thousands of descendants of the Jews of Eastern Europe are unaware of their connection with Judaism.
Further, the Commission lists the groups who have no blood relation to the Jews, however, consider themselves descendants of the Jews and observe Jewish traditions – Nigerian Igbo tribe, utiger («kirinskii the Jews») in China, the tribe of Lemba (South Africa, Zimbabwe), part of the population of Guinea-Bissau and Sao Tome and Principe (possibly the descendants of the Marranos).
The total number of descendants of Marranos, the «lost tribes» and those who come to Judaism on their own, is estimated at 35 million people.
In the 60 million people estimated the number of those who are not aware of their ties with Judaism or not interested in them.
The Commission stresses in its recommendations that in the majority we are not talking about the population that desires to go convert to Judaism and emigrate to Israel for ideological or economic reasons. However, their interest in their Jewish roots, influences their attitude towards Israel that cannot be ignored the Jewish state.
Among the Commission’s recommendations – the establishment of programmes for the acquaintance of the descendants of the Marranos, Israel (in the likeness of the program «Taglit» for the Jews of the Diaspora), volunteer projects, creating genealogical databases, and the initiation of government genealogical research, creating projects, teaching judasim and Jewish traditions through the Internet, targeted at groups such as the Igbo tribe.
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