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Jews in Europe Fear Wearing Jewish Symbols in Public

October 23, 2013

“Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”  (Genesis 17:14)

Anti-Semitism has grown in Europe to such a point that 22 percent of Jews are concerned for their safety when in public.

Because of that, they avoid wearing items that identify them as Jewish, such as a kippah (yarmulke or skull cap), according to a survey of 5,100 Jews in nine European countries conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.  (HaAretz)

school children-kippah-payot-tzitzit

A group of Israeli children return home from school.  In Israel, they can safely wear a kippah (head covering) and other markers of Jewish identity such as tzitzit (fringes) and payot (sidecurls).

That fear of being identified as Jewish was highest in Sweden at 49 percent.  In France, a full 40 percent of those surveyed said that they were afraid to publicly identify themselves as Jews.  In Belgium, the figure was 36 percent.

Furthermore, 91 percent of those living in Hungary said that anti-Semitism had increased during the past five years.  In France, 88 percent said that anti-Semitism was on the rise, with 87 percent in Belgium, and 80 percent in Sweden.  Sixty percent of respondents from Germany, Italy and Britain also said that anti-Semitism was increasing.

When it came to experiencing an anti-Semitic incident in the last year, 30 percent of Hungarians, 21 percent of those living in France, and 16 percent of the German respondents said they had personally experienced it.

The survey was conducted online over a period of a year, starting in September 2012, and included the following countries: France; Britain; Belgium; Germany; Sweden; Italy; Hungary; Romania and Latvia.  (JPost)

French-Orthodox Jewish-charity-Tzedakah

A French Orthodox Jewish man takes a moment to help a poor man in Marseilles, France.

One indication of the rise of anti-Semitism may be the recent resolution by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) that classified the Brit Milah (ritual circumcision of eight-day-old male Jewish infants) as “a violation of the physical integrity of children” and called for European states to uphold the human rights of children and protect them from this so-called violation.

The response was immediate in Israel.

MK Yisrael Eichler (UTJ) said, “The minute the Europeans harm circumcision, they’re saying they don’t want the Jews to exist.”

Brit Milah-Eight-day old grandson

An Israeli Messianic Jewish grandmother with her daughter and eight-day old grandson at his Brit Milah.

“Circumcision is one of the foundations of Judaism.  Of all of our commandments, it most characterizes our religion and makes it unique from the rest of the world….  We ask you from the depths of our hearts to cancel this decision,” Israel’s chief rabbis, Rabbis David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef said in a letter sent to PACE.

“No one can force us and Diaspora Jewry to follow certain religious values and not others.  We should be allowed to observe all Jewish customs,” Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee Chairman Yoel Razbozov said.  (JPost)

Razbozov also said that if it becomes necessary, Israeli embassies in European countries will be instructed to hold the Brit Milah in their buildings, which are legally Israeli territory.

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