A report released by the European Jewish Association and the Rabbinical Center of Europe shows about 1.5 million Jews in Europe conceal their Jewishness from the public.
“About 40 percent of European Jews choose to hide their Jewishness,” said RCE and EJA Director-General Rabbi Menachem Margolin.
Only 25 percent of Jewish children in Europe attend Jewish schools, and while twice as many worshippers will attend prayer services during the upcoming High Holy Days than on Saturdays, “about 70 percent of European Jews will choose not to attend synagogue on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.”
The report also noted that Europe has an 80 percent intermarriage rate.
The drastic rise in European anti-Semitism was fueled this summer by the most recent conflict between Israel and Hamas. The report revealed that hundreds of Jewish parents had to transfer their children to Jewish schools due to fear of anti-Semitic violence.
In Germany, at a recent rally protesting anti-Semitism, Chancellor Angela Merkel called for “tolerance” as attacks on Jews increase in Europe and around the world. Merkel called the 100,000 Jews living in Germany a “national treasure” and stated, “Jewish friends, neighbors and colleagues, consider yourselves at home here.”
Michael Freund, Founder of Israel Returns, an organization that seeks to fulfill the biblical mandate of helping Jews return to Israel from all corners of the earth, told Breaking Israel News that the current situation in Europe should serve as a major warning to Jews.
“The rise of anti-Semitism across Europe less than seven decades after the Holocaust is a frightening turn of events. Synagogues have been firebombed, schools have been targeted and Jews have been attacked on the streets. The fact that 40 percent of European Jews feel the need to hide their Jewish identity speaks volumes about the sense of fear and foreboding that is gripping Jews throughout the continent,” he said.
“European tolerance and freedom are in danger of becoming things of the past, yet little is being done to counter growing anti-Semitism. It is time for Europe’s Jews to read the writing on the wall and to realize that ultimately their future lies in Israel, the land of our people’s history and its destiny,” Freund explained. “Only in Israel will they be able to raise their children free of anti-Semitism and without having to worry about devastating assimilation.”
With the High Holidays quickly approaching, Frend expressed his hope that Jews in Europe will wake up and learn from history that the only safe place for the Jewish nation is in Israel. “The call of the ‘great shofar’ is being sounded, calling European Jews to come home to Zion after 2,000 years of exile. I pray they will heed its call in time.”