A new survey ranking 12 European countries for the quality of Jewish life has shown big differences.
The results of this survey, which examines the performances of European governments in the 12 countries whith sizable Jewish communities, was presented last week during the annual policy conference of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association (EJA) in Budapest. The survey, conducted in the last two yars in collaboration with the British Institute of Jewish Policy Research, weighs practical activities such as the fight against anti-Semitism, the security of the Jewish community, freedom of religion, cultivating Jewish culture and how state votes regarding Israel at the U.N.
Titled “Europe and Jews, a country index of respect and tolerance towards Jews,” the study ranks the 12 countries surveyed as follows: Italy: 79, Hungary: 76, Denmark: 75, the United Kingdom: 75, Austria: 75, the Netherlands: 74, Sweden: 73, Germany: 72, Spain: 70, France: 68, Poland: 66, Belgium: 60.
EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin said that the study’s aim was to help Jewish communities across Europe lobby for positive change in their respective countries.
“The aim of the study is not to clash with this or that government and certainly not to embarrass or campaign against this or that government but to create a comparative scientific infrastructure on the quality of Jewish life in various European countries and allow community leaders and government heads to know what practical steps are needed to overcome the challenges together.”
He said that ‘’while we welcome statements of support and words of goodwill from our respective governments, we believe that governments and regional authorities must adopt a series of vital measures to foster Jewish lLife and safeguard Jewish communities.’’
The Budapest conference adopted the following 10 measures or recommandations to all the governments in Europe in order to improve the feelings of security felt by Jewish communities :
- The adoption of a “zero tolerance” policing and judiciary policy towards antisemitism.
- Increased policing presence on the streets in flashpoint/areas of inter-communal tension.
- Education provision for all immigrants and schools on the need to respect diversity, plurality and basic tenets of Jewish faith, customs and practice
- Enshrine the primacy of Freedom of Religion for Jews in their respective countries by protecting Kosher Slaughter and Circumcision from punitive legislation that impedes or bans both.
- Appoint a government co-ordinator for combatting antisemitism and fostering Jewish life
- Adoption, in full, of the IHRA definition of antisemitism
- Establish a dedicated programme for the memorialisation of the Shoah
- Establish and maintain a central government and/or regional database of antisemitic incidents
- The dedicated supply of security equipment to Jewish Communities and dedicated support and promotion of Jewish Culture, Education and the maintenance of Synagogues
- Decrease the number of UNGA votes that seek to arbitrarily and one-sidedly isolate and punish the State of Israel