Almost half of European Jews between the ages of 16 and 34 have considered emigrating because they don’t feel safe.
By World Israel News Staff
A new report relaying “the experiences and perceptions of Jewish Europeans between the ages of 16 and 34” has painted a picture that “provides reasons for concern,” says Michael O’Flaherty, director of the European Union (EU) Agency for Fundamental Rights.
The agency says that it commissioned the Institute for Jewish Policy Research to write the report following a request from the European Commission.
The London-based think tank refers to itself as “the only independent institute in Britain that specializes in researching the state of the contemporary Jewish communities in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe.”
Among the over 2,700 young people who took part in the survey “on Jewish people’s experiences, 4 out of 10 say they have considered emigrating because they do not feel safe as Jews,” writes O’Flaherty.
“Just over 80% of the young Jews surveyed say that anti-Semitism is a problem in their country, and believe it has grown in the past five years,” he laments. “They see the internet and social media as particularly hostile environments – but face problems in public places too.”
“The young Jews surveyed indicated encountering harassment at higher rates than older generations: 44 % say they were targeted at least once in the year before the survey,” conducted in December 2018, according to the director, who says he was startled to have found that 80% of those experiencing such incidents opted not to report them.
“To protect themselves, many avoid wearing or carrying items that may identify them as Jewish,” the survey showed.
“These findings make for grim reading,” says O’Flaherty.
He calls for action to “fight anti-Semitism more effectively by tackling it at its roots, no matter how difficult that is.”
O’Flaherty says that a combination of “educational and criminal law measures can play an important role. We hope this report encourages policymakers to intensify their efforts in these areas.”
“Jewish life has been an intrinsic part of Europe for many centuries and, tragically, so has Jew-hatred. In recent years, anti-Semitism has been on the rise once again,” writes Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, in the study’s preface, adding that “when looking into how Jewish Europeans see their future in Europe in the current climate, the obvious people to ask are the young.”
Jourová acknowledges that “this report sheds light on the fact that young Jewish Europeans are more exposed to anti-Semitic incidents than their elders” but maintains that “it also shows their strong Jewish identity and their resilience.”
The commissioner states that she wishes “to ensure that Jews in Europe can continue to express their identity freely and feel safe in their daily life. The European Commission is determined to respond to the rising challenge of anti-Semitism and mobilize the European Parliament and the Member States to take action.”