Most people are convinced that there are comparatively few Jews in the world, only about 13.3 million in 2001, about 1.4 percent of the world population, 4.9 million lived in Israel and 8.3 million outside the Holy Land. Logic would dictate that the actual figure is many times that number and percentage. It is even possible that Jews outnumber the number of all other religions.
A radical view about Jews
Let’s look first at the most radical view of the number of Jews.
The twelfth century Spanish poet Yehuda Halevi was well-respected during his lifetime, but is better known today for his poetical defense of Judaism called The Kuzari, a book that is admired by so many Jews that numerous rabbis give classes and lectures on it, as if it is a holy book. Unfortunately, neither these rabbis nor their congregants delve deeply enough into the volume to understand it, as Hillel Harkin does.
After analyzing Halevi’s views, Harkin compares Halevi’s Kuzari to Maimonides’ rational Guide of the Perplexed. “The reader attracted to Maimonides will find The Kuzari irrational in its assumptions, careless in its logic, dismissive of scientific thinking, presumptuously ethnocentric.”
I agree with Hillel Harkin. I especially disagree with two of Halevi’s key points. He teaches that Jews are biologically superior to all other people. Non-Jews are somewhere in-between animals and Jews. Even converts to Judaism are unable to reach the level of Jews because they lack their biology. They remain in the lower class. I dislike this notion. I think that God created all people and loves all people, and we should respect all people. Furthermore, over the many centuries there were countless non-Jews who converted to Judaism and married Jews. These included many important biblical figures such as Moses and King David’s ancestress Ruth. Those who believe the future messiah will descend from David will have to agree that the messiah descended from a convert. Using Halevi’s logic, the number of Jews today is approximately zero.
I also do not think that his proof that Judaism is correct is logical. He argues that we know for a fact that the Sinai revelation occurred because it was seen by millions who passed on what they saw to the next generation. Thus, according to Halevi, we have reliable witness reports. I am not questioning revelation, just his logic. We know that incorrect ideas are passed on from generation to generation. We also know that other religions make the same unreliable claim.
My view is based on well-recognized facts
We know that Jews were persecuted for generations and abandoned Judaism in many ways. Thousands were forced to convert. Thousands of others converted to secure an education or a job or to avoid harassment. Thousands did not convert but hid the fact that they were Jews and acted as non-Jews. The original Jews who did this retained their Jewishness, but their children and grandchildren did not. They simply continued to be non-Jews as their parents acted. Thousands of Jewish women were raped during pogroms and attacks such as by the crusaders beginning with the first crusade in 1095 who made their way across Europe to secure the Holy Land from the Arabs. The intermarriage rate between Jews and non-Jews has always been high. Ezra and Nehemiah railed against it separately and on more than a single occasion unsuccessfully in biblical days. Today, it is as high as 58 percent. The daughters of two recent presidents, Clinton and Trump, married Jewish husbands but only Ivanka Trump converted. Most of the above-mentioned people had children who lived as non-Jews. While Chelsea Clinton did not convert and her children are not considered Jewish by Jewish law which calls people Jewish if they are descendant of a Jewish mother, her children, like it or not, contain “Jewish blood.”
Even Adolph Hitler may have had a Jewish ancestor. There are those who believe that his grandmother was a household cook to a Jewish family and had a son with a 19-year-old son of the family who became Hitler’s grandfather. Even the grandchildren of Haman converted according to the Talmud and learned and taught Torah in Bnei Brak in Israel. Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 and not permitted to live in Spain until 1950. Yet some of Columbus’ crew, including the first European to set foot on the new land, and perhaps even Columbus himself, were Jews who were forcibly converted to Christianity. It is possible that along with President Lyndon B. Johnson, President Abraham Lincoln also descended from Jews.
Even if these claims of Jewish ancestry are untrue, they reflect the view stated in this essay that there are more Jews than people think.
If we use the metaphor “Jewish blood,” we can say that the descendants of these people had Jewish blood. We can also say that the acts perpetrated against Jews described in the above paragraph were so numerous and were followed by multitude births that it is even possible that there are very few if any person, living today that lacks Jewish blood.
 Hillel Harkin, Yehuda Halevi, Nextbook Schocken, 2010.
 Babylonian Talmud Gitin 57b, Sanhedrin 69b and 96b. Chatam Sofer also contends in his commentary to the biblical book Esther that Haman was Mordecai’s slave before he rose to prominence and Mordecai had converted him to Judaism.
 Cecil Roth, A History of the Jews, Schocken Books, 1970, and Deborah R. Prinz, On the Chocolate Trial, Jewish Lights Publishing, 2012.
 David Max Eichhorn, Joys of Jewish folklore, Jonathan David Publications, 1984. This book has many fascinating tales, including: In 1916 nuns were being sanctified as wives of Jesus. Two rabbis were in the crowed. When asked why they were present, they replied, we are related to the groom.