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January 25, 2022 5:46 pm
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Survey: Israelis Expect Rise in European Antisemitism, With Eye on France, Poland and Germany

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

A marcher in Warsaw carries an antisemitic sign at a May 2019 protest against the restitution of property stolen from Polish Jews during the Nazi occupation. Photo: Agencja Gazeta/Maciej Jazwiecki via Reuters

A majority of Israelis are concerned that outbreaks of antisemitism in Europe will continue to rise and affect Jewish life, according to a poll by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s European Forum.

The survey, conducted among the Jewish Israeli and Israeli Arab adult population, found that 53 percent of Jewish Israelis believe the situation of Jews in Europe will worsen, while 25 percent said that antisemitism levels will stay the same. About 52 percent of Israeli Arabs respondents think Jewish life in Europe will stay the same, with 20 percent expecting it to improve.

“We see that alongside the very strong trade relations and formal agreements between Israel and Europe, Israelis observe the rise of antisemitism and the growing power of the political right in Europe with great alarm,” remarked Gili Drori, Director of the HU’s European Forum.

Jewish Israelis viewed France and Poland as the most antisemitic countries in Europe, followed by Germany in third place, according to the poll. Among ultra-Orthodox Jews, Germany was perceived as most antisemitic; France was at the top of the list among religious and traditional Jews, and Poland among secular Jews. Israeli Arabs respondents ranked Poland and Germany as the most antisemitic countries in Europe.

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“The perception of France as topping the list of antisemitic European nations did not surprise me,” said HU’s Gisela Dachs, the main author of the survey. “For a long time, it’s been an open secret that France is rife with antisemitism, and not just among the far-right politicians and populations.”

“Since Israel’s Second Intifada in 2000, French Jews have started to feel there may be no future for the younger generation in France and quite a few have emigrated to Israel to maintain their Jewish identity,” Dachs added.

A third of the Jewish Israelis polled in the survey believe that there is a direct link between criticism of Israel and antisemitism, while the majority contended that “sometimes” there is a connection between the two.

When asked whether European Union policies are motivated by antisemitism, almost one third or 27 percent of Jewish Israelis believe they are, while an equal percentage of respondents rebuffed the assertion, and 40 percent thought this was only sometimes the case. Against this, 53 percent of Israeli Arabs polled see no connection between EU policies and antisemitism.

The survey was based on face-to-face interviews among a representative sample of 1,006 Jewish Israelis and Israeli Arabs conducted in October last year.

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