TEL AVIV (Nov. 12)
A study made by the Hebrew University indicates that the world Jewish population presently stands at under 10 million and by the end of the century will number no more than eight million. According to the study, the commonly accepted figure of more than 11 million Jews today is erroneous.
Prof. Roberto Becchi, who has studied Jewish demographic changes, said the Jewish population will continue to decline in the 21st century because of the declining Jewish birth rate in the diaspora. According to Becchi, Israel is the only country where natural growth exceeds the death rate. He said that if Israeli families continue to have three or more children, they may compensate for the lower Jewish birth rate abroad. However, he said, there are signs that the average birth rate in Israel will drop below three children per family.