(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Studies show that despite the fact that European Jewish life continues to be vibrant, 40 to 50 percent of the Jews in Belgium, France and Hungary are considering emigrating, some to Israel and others to North America.
In a report titled “European Jewry—Signals and Noise,” the Jewish People Planning Institute cites a European Union survey on Jews’ perceptions of anti-Semitism showing that anti-Semitic incidents in Europe increased by more than 30 percent in 2012. In France, anti-Semitic incidents increased by 58 percent in 2012, with a staggering 96 violent attacks.
In countries like France and Sweden, anti-Semitism is fueled by Muslim elements and rationalized as a response to Israeli policy against the Palestinians; in Greece and Hungary it draws on calls for ethnic purity and nationalism.
According to a large-scale survey on Jews’ experiences and perceptions of anti-Semitism commissioned by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency, 26 percent of respondents claim to have experienced anti-Semitic harassment at least once in the 12 months preceding the survey, and 34 percent experienced anti-Semitic harassment over the past five years.
At Meeting With Jewish Leaders Pope Francis Slams Antisemitism
In a meeting at the Vatican with Jewish leaders from around the world, Pope Frances told the delegation from International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations, or IJCIC: “Because of our commons roots, a true Christian cannot be antisemitic,” adding that the Catholic Church “firmly condemns hatred, persecution and all manifestations of antisemitism.
Rabbi David Rosen, Director of International Interreligious Affairs at AJCommitee, summed up the feelings of those who participated. “Pope Francis is a very good friend of the Jewish People and we rejoice in the fact that he will continue to advance the path of his predecessors in deepening the Catholic-Jewish relationship even further,” he said.