Last week the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released a report showing a significant spike in anti-Semitic incidents worldwide in the wake of this summer's conflict between Israel and Hamas. Now the Rabbinical Center of Europe (RCE) and the European Jewish Association (EJA) are claiming that about 40 percent of European Jews are hiding their Jewish identity in their day-to-day lives.
The two organizations, run by Brussels Chabad Rabbi Menachem Margolin, said they had gathered data from more than 800 rabbis and RCE members across the continent.
“Half-a-million Jews will participate in prayers (during the upcoming High Holidays), but 1.5 million Jews hide their Jewishness,” a press release by the RCE and EJA stated.
This summer, Britain experienced a 400- percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents in July alone, according to the ADL report, and that trend doesn't seem to be letting up in that country. The U.K. Jewish News reported Monday that two 11-year-old boys were refused entry by a security guard at the sporting goods store Sports Direct, located in Hertfordshire north of London, after the guard noticed the badges for a local Jewish school on their school uniforms.
Another study conducted in 2013 by the European Union’s Agency for Fundamental Rights had already showed that a third of Jews polled in several EU countries have avoided wearing religiously identifiable clothing and symbols such as the yarmulke or the Star of David. Twenty-three percent avoided attending Jewish events.
In the newest study, “twice as many Jews are reported to attend synagogue prayers on Yom Kippur as on Saturdays throughout the year, 70 percent of Europe’s Jews choose not to go to the synagogue during the High Holy Days,” Rabbi Margolin said.
On Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel took a stand against anti-Semitism in a speech at a 5,000-person rally on the issue in Berlin. The rally was organized by Germany’s Jewish community at the capital city’s Brandenburg Gate.
“It is a monstrous scandal that people in Germany today are being abused if they are somehow recognizable as Jews or if they stand up for the State of Israel," Merkel said.
“I will not accept that and we will not accept that,” she added.