Poll of European Jewish leaders shows rising fear of anti-Semitism

(JTA) – In a survey among leaders of European Jewish communities, 40 per cent of respondents said anti-Semitism is the most serious threat to the future of Jewish life in their country.

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

The figure is the highest recorded by JDC since it launched its first survey of this kind in 2008. That year, only 10 per cent of respondents ranked the phenomenon as the most serious threat facing their communities. In the following survey, conducted in 2011, that figure rose to 26 per cent.

The results match other surveys that show increasing concern among Jews over anti-Semitism following the multiplication of 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.

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 of respondents. In 2008, 38 percent of respondents named the “Increasing rate of mixed marriages” as their communities’ no. 1 threat.

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