How many Jews are in the military?

That’s a difficult one to answer due to a few reasons:

  1. There is no single resource that tracks numbers of troops of various religions.
  2. Many Jews do not list “Jewish” as their religion to avoid being singled out.
  3. Some Jews list “No Preference” in order to hide their religion in case of capture by the enemy in order to minimize “special” treatment.

With that said, there are several estimates floating around based on surveys and general experience. The current estimates vary anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 active duty service members in all branches out of a total force of approximately 1.5 million. That equates to 0.2 to 0.7%. Most of that variance can be explained by the 3 reasons above.

This is a significantly lower representation than our general presence in the United States, which is roughly 2% of the population. This was not always the case though. During WWII, Jews served in numbers significantly higher than our representation in the general population. For more insight into why this is, see this story here (and be sure to browse through the comments).

Posted in: General