According to a large-scale survey on Jewish people’s experiences and perceptions of anti-Semitism commissioned by the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), in three of the nine states surveyed (namely Belgium, France and Hungary), between 40-50% of respondents said they had considered emigrating from their country of residence because they did not feel safe there. Moreover, some 200-300 Jewish families of French origin have recently immigrated to Montreal, and at least 120 families to London.
Beyond the Aliyah of 50,000 French Jews since 1990 (10% of French Jewry), new-immigrant associations claim there are some 20-30,000 additional French Jews who live part of the year in Israel but for convenience – and in order to avoid Israeli bureaucracy – prefer not to take Israeli citizenship.
Despite the trends outlined above, benefiting from relatively high social, professional, and economic personal status, most European Jews will in all likelihood remain in Europe.
Jewish numbers were never high in Switzerland although many Jewish communities existed there in the Middle Ages. A pattern began in 1348 when many cities in the territories of what was to become the Swiss Confederacy murdered their Jews and expelled the survivors.
Jews were denied entry and residence for many centuries. By the seventeenth century a small Jewish population had been established in Swiss-conquered areas. The French occupation of 1798 bolstered the Jewish presence. Discrimination, however, continued until outside pressure led to emancipation in 1868-1874.
After World War I Jewish immigration was made impossible, culminating in the anti-Jewish refugee policy during World War II. In the postwar period Swiss Jews experienced a new acceptance and prosperity despite demographic weakness. More recently a largely homemade anti-Semitism has arisen that gained momentum with the restitution debate of the 1990s.
Can Jews in Europe today come together to constitute a significant third pole of world Jewry alongside Israel and America? Can a new European Jewish identity emerge, one which would be enriching and useful to Jews and non-Jews in Europe and around the world? The author's response is yes, qualified by the proviso that identities take shape only if there are people who incarnate them, in this case Jews who feel equally at home in their Jewish and European roots. She feels that only now in the context of a democratic (or aspiring democratic) and reunited pan-European continent do the premises for such a new Jewish identity exist. Two political and cultural transformations made this possible: the transcendence of the ideological divisions based on Communism and the slow coming to terms with the Holocaust on the part of Europe s different countries. The road pointing to such a future European Jewish identity, however, is still fraught with controversy.
Foreword - Joëlle Aflalo and Gad Boukobza
Introduction - Eliahu Birnbaum
Summary of the Deliberations - Benjamin Myers
Jews in Europe - Ami Bouganim
Think Tank Participants
This report presents first results of a new series of demographic projections of the Jewish population in the Russian Republic, the largest component of the Former Soviet Union (FSU). The projection extends over a period of 25 years, between the mid-1990s and approaching the year 2020, and portrays different scenarios reflecting the most likely developments to be expected in conformity with a variety of assumptions.
Which one of these hypotheses is right? This paper examines each of them in turn, but ultimately concludes that there is insufficient evidence to make a fully accurate assessment. All have an evidence base to support them, but none is robust enough to completely outweigh the others.
In particular, it focuses on the new data gathered by JPR for the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), which sheds fresh light on the question of the future of Jewish life in Europe, and provides researchers with what is probably the largest dataset on European Jews ever to be produced.
Based on historical precedent, he argued that we should expect to see five trends: (1) Jewish organisations being merged into non-Jewish organisations; (2) new found efforts to re-engage small donors; (3) calls for higher standards of ethics and greater transparency in Jewish philanthropy; (4) a new focus on sweat equity; and (5) demographic decline and greater aliyah to Israel as unemployment rises.
Sarna further argued that “Once the economic downturn is behind us, the goal of formulating a new and compelling mission for our Jewish community needs to be high on our collective agenda.”