Portrait of Jewish Americans
Massive new (and maybe biggest ever) study by respected US pollsters Pew shows that 22% self-identify as having no religion and 60% who have married since 2000 chose non-Jewish spouses
American Jews overwhelmingly say they are proud to be Jewish and have a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people, according to a major new survey by the Pew Research Centre. But the survey also suggests that Jewish identity is changing in America, where one-in-five Jews (22%) now describe themselves as having no religion.
A huge new study by the highly respected US firm, the PEW RESEARCH CENTRE found that the percentage of U.S. adults who say they are Jewish when asked about their religion has declined by about half since the late 1950s and currently is a little less than 2%.
The changing nature of Jewish identity stands out sharply when the survey’s results are analysed by generation.
While 93% of Jews in the aging Greatest Generation (born before 1927) identify as Jewish on the basis of religion (called “Jews by religion” in this report); just 7% describe themselves as having no religion. By contrast, among Jews in the youngest generation of U.S. adults – the Millennials (born after 1980) – 68% identify as Jews by religion, while 32% describe themselves as having no religion and identify as Jewish on the basis of ancestry, ethnicity or culture.
Intermarriage is a related phenomenon – with 79% of secular Jews in the survey having a spouse who is not Jewish, and 36% among Jews who practice religion. Intermarried Jews are much less likely to be raising their children in the Jewish faith. Nearly all Jews who have a Jewish spouse say they are raising their children as Jewish by religion (96%). Among Jews with a non-Jewish spouse, however, just 20% are raising their children Jewish and 25% are raising their children “partly Jewish.”
Intermarriage has soared over the past 50 years, with almost 60% of Jews who married since 2000 reporting that they have a non-Jewish spouse.
Among those who married in the 1980s the figure was roughly 40% and among Jews who got married before 1970, just 17% have a non-Jewish spouse.
The shift in Jewish self-identification reflects broader changes in the U.S. public. Americans as a whole – not just Jews – increasingly distance themselves from religious affiliation.
In fact the share of U.S. Jews who say they have no religion (22%) is similar to the share of religious “nones” in the general public (20%), and religious disaffiliation is as common among all U.S. adults ages 18-29 as among Jewish Millennials (32% of each).
These are among the key findings of the Pew Research Centre’s survey conducted among 3,475 Jews across the U.S. between February and June this year and published last week.
Secularism has a long tradition in Jewish life in America, and most U.S. Jews seem to recognise this: 62% say being Jewish is mainly a matter of ancestry and culture, while just 15% say it is mainly a matter of religion. Even among Jews by religion, more than half (55%) say being Jewish is mainly a matter of ancestry and culture, and two-thirds say it is not necessary to believe in God to be Jewish.
Secular Jews are also much less connected to Jewish organisations and two-thirds say they are not raising their children Jewish.
The survey was unable to answer the question of whether being intermarried tends to make U.S. Jews less religious, or being less religious tends to make U.S. Jews more inclined to intermarry, or a combination of both.
This suggests that their share of the Jewish population will grow, say the researchers.
In the past, high fertility in the U.S. Orthodox community has been at least partially offset by a low retention rate: Roughly half of the survey respondents who were raised as Orthodox Jews say they are no longer Orthodox.
But the falloff from Orthodoxy appears to be declining, as could be expected with the growing tendencies among younger Jews to adopt a frum lifestyle – and is significantly lower among 18-to-29-year-olds (17%) than among older people – READ MORE ON THIS.
Within all three major denominational movements, most of the switching is in the direction of less-traditional Judaism. The survey finds that approximately one-quarter of people who were raised Orthodox have since become Conservative or Reform Jews, while 30% of those raised Conservative have become Reform Jews, and 28% of those raised Reform have left the Jewish religion entirely. Much less switching is reported in the opposite direction.
For example, just 7% of Jews raised in the Reform movement have become Conservative or Orthodox, and just 4% of those raised in Conservative Judaism have become Orthodox.
The new survey also finds that 70% of Jews say they participated in a Pesach Seder in the past year, and 53% say they fasted on Yom Kippur in 2012. These measures of observance appear to have moved downward only slightly since the 2000-2001 National Jewish Population Survey which recorded 78% and 60% respectively.
This, however, appears to be attributable to the rising number of secular Jews. The rates of Pesach and Yom Kippur observance have remained stable among practicing Jews.
Despite the changes in Jewish identity in America, 94% of U.S. Jews (97% of practicing) say they are proud to be Jewish.
Three-quarters of U.S. Jews (including 85% of practicing Jews) also say they have “a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people.”
And emotional attachment to Israel has not waned discernibly among American Jews in the past decade, though it is markedly stronger among practicing Jews – and older Jews in general.
43% of all U.S. Jews have been to Israel with 23% having visited more than once. 40% of Jews say they believe the land that is now Israel was given by God to the Jewish people.
At the same time, many American Jews express reservations about Israel’s approach to the peace process. Just 38% say the Israeli government is making a sincere effort to establish peace with the Palestinians. (Only 12% think Palestinian leaders are sincerely seeking peace with Israel.)
Just 17% of American Jews think the continued building of settlements in the West Bank is helpful to Israel’s security – 44% saying that settlement construction hurts Israel’s own security interests.
What does being Jewish mean?
A key aim of the Pew Research Centre survey is to explore Jewish identity: What does being Jewish mean in America today? Large majorities of U.S. Jews say that remembering the Holocaust (73%) and leading an ethical life (69%) are essential to their sense of Jewishness. More than half (56%) say that working for justice and equality is essential to what being Jewish means to them.
And about four-in-ten say that caring about Israel (43%) and having a good sense of humour (42%) are essential to their Jewish identity.
But observing Halacha is less central to most American Jews. Just 19% of the Jewish adults surveyed say observing Halacha is essential to what being Jewish means to them. And in a separate but related question, most Jews say a person can be Jewish even if that person works on Shabbos or does not believe in God.
Believing in Jesus, however, is enough to place one beyond the pale: 60% of U.S. Jews say a person cannot be Jewish if he or she believes Jesus was the messiah.
By several conventional measures, Jews tend to be less religious than the U.S. public as a whole. Compared with the overall population, for example, Jews are less likely to say that they attend religious services weekly or that they believe in God with absolute certainty. And just 26% of U.S. Jews say religion is very important in their lives. This is less than half of the 56% of the general U.S. population.
Not unsurprisingly, Orthodox Jews are an exception in this regard exhibiting levels of religious commitment that place them among the most religiously committed groups in the country.) But while relatively few Jews attach high importance to religion, far more (46%) say being Jewish is very important to them.
Other findings from the Pew Research Centre survey include:
- Jews from the former Soviet Union and their offspring account for roughly one-tenth of the U.S. Jewish population; 5% of Jewish adults say they were born in the former Soviet Union, and an additional 6% say they were born in the U.S. but have at least one parent who was born in the former Soviet Union.
Jews have high levels of educational attainment. Most Jews are college graduates (58% – compared to the general U.S. population’s 29%). 28% (10% for all U.S.) have a post-grad degree.
25% have a household income exceeding $150,000, compared with 8% of adults in the public as a whole. 20% of U.S. Jews report household incomes of less than $30,000 per year – with six-in-ten Jews in this low-income category are either under age 30 or 65 or older.
39% of U.S. Jewish adults live in a household where at least one person is a member of a Shul. This includes 31% of Jewish adults (39% of practicing Jews) surveyed said that they personally belong to a synagogue, temple or other congregation.
Jews think several other minority groups face more discrimination than they do. 72% said gays face a lot of discrimination in American society, and an equal number said there is lot of discrimination against Muslims. 64% believed blacks face a lot of discrimination. Only 43% felt that Jews face a lot of discrimination.
15% of those surveyed said that in the past year they personally have been called offensive names or snubbed in a social setting because they are Jewish.
Over half (52%) of U.S. Jewry, including 60% of practicing Jews, know the Hebrew alphabet. 13 overall, including 16% of practicing Jews said they understand most or all of the words when they read Hebrew.
Jews are heavily concentrated in certain geographic regions: 43% live in the Northeast, compared with 18% of the public as a whole. Roughly a quarter of Jews reside in the South (23%) and in the West (23%), while 11% live in the Midwest. Half of Jews (49%) reside in urban areas and a similar number (47%) reside in the suburbs; just 4% of Jews reside in rural areas.
As a whole, Jews support the Democratic Party over the Republican Party by more than three-to-one: 70% say they are Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party, while 22% are Republicans or lean Republican. Among Orthodox Jews, however, the balance tilts in the other direction: 57% are Republican or lean Republican, and 36% are Democrats or lean Democratic.
About the Survey
These are some of the findings of the new Pew survey, conducted from 20 February to 13 June, 2013, among a nationally representative sample of U.S. Jews. This is the most comprehensive national survey of the Jewish population since the 2000-2001 National Jewish Population Survey. More than 70,000 screening interviews were conducted to identify Jewish respondents in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Longer interviews were completed with 3,475 Jews, including 2,786 practicing Jews and 689 Jews not practicing religion.
Interviews were conducted in English and Russian by random digit dialing on both landlines and cell phones.
In order to reach Jewish respondents most efficiently, the survey focused on telephone exchanges in areas where previous surveys indicate that at least some Jews reside.
Overall, the survey covered geographic areas that are home to more than 90% of U.S. adults. Counties were excluded from the survey only if (a) no Jews had been interviewed in those counties in more than 150 Pew Research Centre surveys conducted over the past decade; (b) no other surveys in a Brandeis University database had ever interviewed a Jew in those counties; and (c) no synagogues or institutions of Jewish education were known to be located in those counties at the time of the Pew Research survey. Based on this geographic coverage, more than 95% of the Jewish population, including 99% of the practicing Jewish population, is estimated to have been eligible to be called for the survey.
Pew Research were advised on the survey questionnaire, methodology and analysis of results from a panel of eminent Jewish researchers including several of the leading figures in the study of American Jewry: Rabbi B. Elka Abrahamson, Sarah Bunin Benor, Steven M. Cohen, Sergio DellaPergola, Shlomo Argov, David Dutwin, Jane Eisner, Laurence Kotler-Berkowitz, Jonathan Sarna, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun, Leonard Saxe, Jack Wertheimer, Joseph and Martha Mendelson, and Leon Wieseltier.
Related Reads on the Pew Forum website:
Related Reads – download these PDFs
The following ducuments have been uploaded in PDF format for the convenience of users and can be downloaded from the website and forwarded to friends or family members – or printed to be read later:
Commonwealth Jewish Council calls for release of ‘Nigeria three’
All Rudy Rochman wanted to do was to shine a light on unknown, disconnected, and re-emerging Jewish communities around the world, but something went horribly wrong.
The charismatic 27-year-old Israeli activist, who has more than 97 000 followers on Instagram, was working on a new documentary series titled, We Were Never Lost, which focused on these “lost tribes”. At the beginning of July, he and his team travelled to Nigeria to film their first episode.
However, Rochman, filmmaker Andrew Noam Leibman, and French-Israeli journalist Edouard David Benaym were arrested by Nigerian security services when the three presented a Torah scroll to a local community. They remain in custody, haven’t been charged, and haven’t been given legal representation. Organisations and individuals around the world are working desperately to get them released.
“Our first season is set in Africa, and we are filming our first episode on the Jews of Nigeria,” Rochman’s team wrote on Facebook on 8 July. “There are many Jews in Nigeria, Igbos included, and we are here only to help local practising and observing Jewish communities, to provide them with resources, and to document their lives, experiences, and aspirations. We don’t take any position on political movements as we aren’t here as politicians nor as a part of any government delegation.”
But the next day, they were arrested, supposedly for supporting “separatist activists”. Commonwealth Jewish Council (CJC) Chief Executive Clive Lawton is one of the many people working behind the scenes. Speaking to the SA Jewish Report from his home in the United Kingdom, he says he is alarmed that the men have been held in detention for more than a week without being charged. “That would indicate it’s only an investigation, but they still have no legal representation, and how can such an investigation take more than a week?”
He says the CJC has written to the Nigerian high commissioner to the Commonwealth, His Excellency Sarafa Tunji Isola, urging him to pressure his government to release them soon. “They are being detained on the flimsiest of pretexts. I’m sure the Nigerian government wouldn’t want to cultivate an image that foreign visitors can be snatched up on spurious accusations,” says Lawton.
He has also written to the secretary general of the Commonwealth of Nations, Baroness Patricia Scotland. “In this family of nations, the quality of relationships and expectations of decency carry a lot of weight. It’s shocking that Nigeria might continue to hobnob with other heads of governments while treating foreigners like this. It should be seen as shameful. Yes, they might need to investigate something, but that doesn’t take 10 days. This isn’t just an investigation. It’s intimidation. Acting without due process is against Commonwealth principles,” he says.
He hopes that the less formal relationships between Commonwealth countries will make an impact. “At the very least, they should be released to go home. But more desirable would be that they be allowed to return to their cultural activity of making a documentary.”
Lawton says his organisation seeks to build relationships between Jews from around the world. More than 40 countries, including South Africa, are members.
Although the media reported that “three Israelis” were arrested, it’s unclear if all three have Israeli citizenship.
Lawton says Rochman and Leibman entered Nigeria on their American passports, and Benaym on his French passport. “We knew that they planned to make this documentary and were in the first stages of filming. They went to south-east Nigeria to visit a community. Like anyone making such a visit, they wanted to bring artefacts or objects to present to them. In this instance, they very generously brought a Sefer Torah.”
Two weeks ago, Rochman wrote on Instagram about how his team had “just acquired a beautiful Torah that survived the Holocaust and is believed to have come from an old community in Ukraine about 200 years ago”.
“The scribal experts our team spoke to stated that the ktav [writing] had since gone extinct, and they couldn’t believe their eyes when we sent them pictures of the scroll.
“We will be bringing the Torah and gifting it to the youth movement of Igbo Jewish communities of Nigeria for them to have access to our nation’s holy text.”
“It would seem that some separatist activists wrote Facebook messages along the lines of ‘welcoming this act of solidarity’”, Lawton says. “But in fact the filmmakers categorically stated that they had no interest in political issues and were there for a cultural reason – to make a film.
“They arrived on a Thursday, and visited a synagogue,” he says. “That was when Nigerian security services entered the synagogue and arrested them, taking them to the capital, Abuja. On the Friday, the men’s embassies were alerted, and sought to get involved. Chabad in Abuja has managed to organise provision of kosher food for them, which the security services agreed to allow. They also agreed for Benaym to be transported to the French embassy for medical attention, as long as he was returned to detention, and that is what was done. Israel has no ‘formal locus’ to help as they didn’t enter on Israeli passports, but it has sought to engage government and services.”
He believes that they are being held in some kind of “detention circumstances”, but cannot say what these conditions are like, if they are separated, or if they are being held with others. But he says that the fact that the French embassy was willing to return Benaym suggests it was “probably not extreme”.
A member of the Igbo community, speaking to the SA Jewish Report on condition of anonymity, says, “Our information is that Rudy and co. came here to do a documentary on the connection of the Igbo people to Biblical Israelites. Many Igbos are reviving the practices of their ancestors and returning to Judaism. This is what Rudy and his team wanted to do – to hear our story as told by our people. But sadly, some local people hijacked the original intention of Rudy and began to make political capital out of it. The team was bringing a Sefer Torah to be donated to our community. We were very happy that many Israelis would get to know about our Israelite heritage and know that we are brethren.
“Our people are very saddened by the arrest, but we don’t want to heighten tension by making utterances as the matter is being handled. We keep praying for their safety. We believe they will be released because their visit was for religious reasons. We don’t believe they came here to undermine the security of Nigeria. In our synagogues, we don’t entertain separatist activities. We are very sad about their plight. We see it as someone getting into unforeseen trouble while in search of a long lost brother.”
The most recent update on the We Were Never Lost Instagram page is that, “Rudy, Noam, and David are still in custody, but are ok. Their spirits remain high. Three embassies are working diligently towards a resolution. No other action is necessary from the community at this stage, but thank you all for the care and support.”
Icy response to Ben & Jerry’s decision to exit settlements
Kosher supermarkets are rethinking their inventory. Politicians are emptying their freezers. And the foreign minister of Israel is vowing to get involved in local American politics.
The reactions were all part of the firestorm that quirky ice cream manufacturer Ben & Jerry’s set off on Monday morning, 19 July, with its announcement that it would no longer sell ice cream in “occupied Palestinian territory”.
The Vermont-based company, founded by two Jews and long known for its left-leaning politics, had gone dark on social media for two months since the recent outbreak of violence in Israel and Gaza. The announcement broke that silence, simultaneously infuriating Israel advocates who said the decision was an unfair attack on Israel, and disappointing pro-Palestinian advocates who said the company should have gone further.
Israeli politicians, supermarkets in the United States, various pundits, and even Ben & Jerry’s current Israeli licensee went after the ice cream maker and its corporate parent, British multinational Unilever, for its statement. (The company’s Jewish founders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, no longer manage the brand, but have often used their frozen treats to push social-justice causes.)
Reactions from Israel’s leaders were harsh. In spite of the distinctions Ben & Jerry’s made in its statement between Israel and the “occupied Palestinian territory”, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a long-time supporter of the settlements, called the decision a “boycott of Israel” and said Ben & Jerry’s “decided to brand itself as an anti-Israel ice cream”. His predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, tweeted, “Now we Israelis know which ice cream NOT to buy.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, the architect of the current ruling coalition, who is generally to Bennett’s left regarding the Palestinians, went even further, calling the decision a “shameful surrender to antisemitism, to BDS [the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement], and to all that is wrong with the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discourse”. He called on US states to take domestic action against Ben & Jerry’s based on state laws that prohibit the government from contracting with entities that boycott Israel.
Israeli cabinet minister Orna Barbivay posted a TikTok video of her throwing a pint in the trash; the flavour she tossed couldn’t be determined at press time.
Other Israeli public figures appeared to compare the ice cream company’s settlement boycott to terrorism. Eran Cicurel, an editor at Israel’s public broadcaster, tweeted that the colour scheme on Ben & Jerry’s statement was similar to that of the flag of the terror group Hamas.
Amichai Chikli, a right-wing legislator in Israel’s Knesset, tweeted, “Ben & Jerry’s you picked the wrong side”, and posted an infamous photo from 2000 of a Palestinian who had just killed two Israeli soldiers displaying his hands through a window, covered in the soldiers’ blood.
American Jewish groups offered varied responses to the company’s scoop that mapped to their political orientation.
Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of the left-leaning Israel advocacy group J Street, said that Ben & Jerry’s was drawing “a principled and rational distinction between commercial transactions in the state of Israel and those in the territory it occupies”, and said the term “antisemitism” didn’t apply to the company’s actions.
Daniel Sokatch, chief executive of the left-wing New Israel Fund, said that Ben & Jerry’s wasn’t being antisemitic in exiting “occupied Palestinian territory” because “these lands aren’t sovereign Israel”.
“Attacking people who try and distinguish between sovereign and non-sovereign Israel by calling them antisemitic is to evade a matter of fact, abuse the meaning of ‘antisemitism’, and ultimately gaslight those who would try and work towards a future of equality and justice for Israelis and Palestinians alike,” Sokatch said in a statement.
The Anti-Defamation League, a centrist group, said it was “disappointed” by the move. “You can disagree with policies without feeding into dangerous campaigns that seek to undermine Israel,” it said, but refrained from calling for specific action.
And the right-wing Zionist Organization of America called for a boycott of the ice cream, proclaiming that Ben & Jerry’s is “bad for your moral and physical health”. The call was echoed by others such as Jewish conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, who said he would stop eating the brand.
Vermonters for Justice in Palestine, an activist group based in Ben & Jerry’s home state that has been leading a years-long campaign against the ice cream maker for doing business in Israel at all, said the move didn’t go far enough.
“By maintaining a presence in Israel, Ben & Jerry’s continues to be complicit in the killing, imprisonment, and dispossession of Palestinian people and the flaunting of international law,” the group’s president, Kathy Shapiro, said in a statement. A related group, Occupy Burlington, had been a driving force behind the most recent social-media push against Ben & Jerry’s.
Meanwhile, CodePink, an international left-wing women’s group, praised the decision for showing that pressure works. But the group also said the company should do more.
“Ben & Jerry’s included in the statement that they will be remaining in Israel,” said Danaka Katovich, a Middle East campaign coordinator for CodePink. “I hope Ben & Jerry’s continues to listen to Palestinians and their demands moving forward, and will recognise that Israel’s system of apartheid exists not only in the occupied territories but from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean sea.”
The Israeli licensee of Ben & Jerry’s, which operates a factory in the town of Be’er Tuvia, took to social media hours after the announcement to denounce the American corporation and its parent company. It called on Israeli consumers to continue purchasing the ice cream brand because hundreds of local workers needed their support.
In a recorded video, Chief Executive Avi Zinger said he had been notified earlier on Monday morning that the company wouldn’t renew his license when it expires at the end of 2022.
“They did this because we wouldn’t agree to stop selling ice cream in all parts of Israel,” Zinger said. “The reason they did that is because of BDS pressure. We aren’t surrendering, and it’s important that you support us.”
In happier times for Ben & Jerry’s Israel relations, the company made a concentrated outreach to its customer base with original, Israel-exclusive flavours, including charoset and matzah crunch – both certified kosher for Passover.
World News in Brief
(JTA) Orthodox player second to hit the big league
The Washington Nationals selected Elie Kligman in its final and 20th round pick on 13 July, making him the second Orthodox Jewish player ever drafted into the league and the second in two days. The Arizona Diamondbacks picked 17-year-old Long Island, New York, native, Jacob Steinmetz, 77th overall on 12 July.
According to MLB.com, Kligman, 18, has moved towards becoming a catcher, but has also played shortstop and thrown the ball 90 miles an hour (144km per hour) as a pitcher. (The pitcher, Steinmetz, has reportedly touched as high as 97 miles per hour.) Kligman switch-hits as well, meaning that he can bat righty or lefty, a skill that boosts his future value.
The Las Vegas native is also more observant than Steinmetz. While Steinmetz plays on the Jewish Sabbath, albeit in walking distance of his hotels, Kligman doesn’t.
“That day of Shabbos is for G-d. I’m not going to change that,” he told The New York Times in March.
Trump’s in-laws tout Haley for president
Charles Kushner, the father of Jared Kushner and the father-in-law of Ivanka Trump, hosted a fundraising event for Nikki Haley and speculated about the former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador becoming president.
If Haley declares, and Donald Trump, Jared Kushner’s father-in-law, says he wants another shot at the White House, things could get interesting at the Kushner family seder.
Haley has said she will announce her decision about whether to run in 2024 early in 2023. She is among the more popular potential Republican candidates among pro-Israel Jews.
Fired Oregon professor sues for $4 million
A professor who was fired from an Oregon university after publicly criticising its president for antisemitism and for neglecting sexual-harassment allegations has sued the university for $4 million (R58 million).
Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, a tenured English professor at the Baptist-affiliated Linfield University, accused President Miles Davis of making multiple antisemitic remarks to him in recent years. The antisemitism, Pollack-Pelzner said, was partly a backlash to his demands that the school do more to address allegations of sexual assault against university trustees including Davis.
Davis denied some of the allegations during an independent investigation, though later admitted to making a remark about Jewish noses.
In April, Linfield fired Pollack-Pelzner, citing “serious breaches of the individual’s duty to the institution”. The termination didn’t appear to follow the process for firing tenured faculty.
British Jews welcome 800-year-old apology
British Jewish leaders say an anticipated apology from the Church of England for antisemitic laws enacted in 1222 is “better late than never”.
The church is planning a formal “act of repentance” for next year, the 800th anniversary of the Synod of Oxford, a set of laws that restricted Jews’ rights to engage with Christians in England, according to a report in the Telegraph.
The laws ultimately led to the expulsion of England’s Jews in 1290. They weren’t officially readmitted until 1656.
“The historic trauma of medieval English antisemitism can never be erased, and its legacy survives today. For example, through the persistence of the ‘blood libel’ allegation that was invented in this country,” Dave Rich, the policy director of a British antisemitism watchdog group, told the Telegraph. “But at a time of rising antisemitism, the support of the Church of England for our Jewish community is most welcome as a reminder that the Britain of today is a very different place.”
Israel first to offer COVID-19 vaccine booster shot
Israel has begun inviting immunocompromised adults to receive a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as case rates in the country have risen again due to the spread of the Delta variant.
Israel led the world in vaccinating most of its population early this year, and the country fully reopened as COVID-19 cases plummeted to a low of single digits during a few days in late May and early June. But cases have since spiked back up to more than 400 a day.
In response, Israel is the first country in the world to approve a third dose of the vaccine as a booster shot, according to The Times of Israel. It has also brought back an indoor-mask mandate.
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