The rise of violent anti-Semitism in Europe has made Jews justifiably concerned about their personal safety. In 2017, a study authored by Dr. Johannes Due Enstad of the Center for Research on Extremism was released, providing the public with a methodological and comprehensive report that dissected the growth of Europe’s anti-Semitism problem.
The study spans the years 2005-2015 with seven countries being analyzed. The countries include France, the U.K., Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Russia. Due to a direct consequence of violent anti-Semitism, one in five Jews in Sweden and the U.K., one in four in Germany, and half of the Jews in France have considered emigrating. In 2015, many Jews took action and about 10,000 Western European Jews left Europe for a better life in Israel, the largest number leaving the continent since 1948. What was interesting was that the period measured did not show an upward or downward trend level of anti-Semitism. When compared with data from the 1990s, there is a consistently elevated level of anti-Semitism.
It seems that French Jews are more likely to have personally experienced a violent attack during the last five years of the study. The Swedish and German Jews are not far behind in their experience of personal attacks, but the largest gap in anti-Semitism lies between British Jews and Jews living in Norway, Denmark and Russia.
Out of all the European Jews mentioned, it is those living in France and Sweden that are less likely to attend Jewish events or even visit Jewish sites because they do not feel safe. More than half of them will avoid wearing, carrying or displaying anything that would reveal their identity as Jews. Although this behavior is not reported to be at the same levels in Germany and the U.K., nevertheless a growing number of Jews in those countries also tend to avoid doing things in public that would label them as Jewish out of fear for their safety.
French Jews have more of a reason to be fearful for their lives as France has experienced more violent, dramatic and fatal anti-Semitic incidents than any other European country. In 2012, three Jewish children and a rabbi were murdered in Toulouse. Mohammed Merah, a 23-year-old al-Qaeda terrorist, had carried out the Toulouse attack, stating that he wanted to kill the Jews because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Fearing for the lives of the Jewish people in France, the head of the Jewish community of Marseille cautioned his fellow community members not to appear in public in any way that would identify them as Jews.
The main people responsible for these attacks are of Muslim background. These attacks are on the increase due to certain trigger events happening in the Middle East. What has been surprisingly dumbfounding is German authorities refusing to classify anti-Israeli incidents as anti-Semitism. Germany should know better, especially with their history.
The only country where the perpetrators were not necessarily of Muslim background, was Russia. In Russia, the Jewish and Muslim populations are separated by a vast expanse of land, with most Jews living in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, and most Muslims living in the Eurasian Caucasus region.
As refugees continue to make their way into Europe due to the war in the Middle East, anti-Semitic attacks are rising. On the 14th of May, 2018, The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv was moved to Jerusalem, sparking outrage among the Palestinians. This move coincides with the 70th anniversary of Israel as a state- a prophecy from the Bible that came to pass in 1948. We, as Christians, need to open our eyes to the world events taking place. It is alarming that there are so few people today, especially in the Church, who recognize how important the modern state of Israel is in GOD’S plan. GOD has predicted many times in Scripture that the sons and daughters of Israel would return to the land of Israel just before Jesus would come again. What more do you need to convince yourself that our LORD and Saviour is on His way?