40% of Europe’s Jewish leaders say anti-Semitism a threat to Jewish life
search

40% of Europe’s Jewish leaders say anti-Semitism a threat to Jewish life

But alienation from communal life, weakening status of Jewish organizations and demographic decline ranked as more serious threats

Benjamin Amsellem, right, a Jewish teacher stabbed by a 15-year-old with a machete who claimed Islamic State inspiration, speaks to the press as he leaves the main police headquarters in Marseille, southeastern France, January 12, 2016. (AFP/ BORIS HORVAT)
Benjamin Amsellem, right, a Jewish teacher stabbed by a 15-year-old with a machete who claimed Islamic State inspiration, speaks to the press as he leaves the main police headquarters in Marseille, southeastern France, January 12, 2016. (AFP/ BORIS HORVAT)

In a survey among leaders of European Jewish communities, 40 percent of respondents maintained that anti-Semitism poses a serious threat to the future of Jewish life in their country.

But the poll figures — published Monday — also showed that alienation of Jews from Jewish life (61%), weakness of Jewish organizations (55%) and demographic decline (51%) were ranked as more pressing issues.

The results appeared in the Third Survey of European Jewish Leaders and Opinion Formers, which was published Monday by the International Center for Community Development of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. The survey is based on replies gathered last year from 314 respondents.

The anti-Semitism fears are the highest recorded by JDC since it launched its first survey of this kind in 2008. That year, only 10 percent of respondents ranked the phenomenon as the most serious threat facing their communities. In the following survey, conducted in 2011, the figure rose to 26%.

The results match other surveys that show increasing concern among Jews over anti-Semitism following the increase in hate crimes in Western Europe after 2000 in connection with Israel and jihadist attacks on Jewish targets, beginning with the 2012 slaying of three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France.

In 2013, nearly one-third of 5,847 European Jewish respondents to an EU survey said they “seriously considered emigrating” because of anti-Semitism.

Still, in all three JDC surveys among leaders of European Jewry, a majority of respondents ranked internal problems as the most serious threat facing their communities.

In 2011 and 2015, the problem of “alienation of Jews from the Jewish community life” was ranked as most serious by more than half the respondents. In 2008, 38% of respondents named the “increasing rate of mixed marriages” as their communities’ No. 1 threat.

read more:
comments