(JTA) – Political support for Israel has increased significantly among Jewish community leaders in Europe, according to a survey published Tuesday, Nov. 20.
The increase was reflected in the Fourth Survey of European Jewish Community Leaders and Professionals of 2018 by the International Center for Community Development of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, or JDC. Of the 893 respondents from 28 European countries and Turkey, 68 percent agreed with the statement “I support Israel fully, regardless of how its government behaves.” In the 2008, 2011 and 2015 surveys, the same statement received 61, 56, and 55 percent approval respectively. Only 42 percent of respondents concurred with the statement “I am sometimes ashamed of the actions of the Israeli government,” compared to 51 percent in 2015. In Western Europe, only 11 percent of respondents said their communities featured a “great degree of divisiveness over Israel.” The figure was one percent in Eastern Europe. Across Western Europe, Jewish community leaders have said that Islamist attacks in their part of the world have sensitized locals to the dilemmas facing Israel and its actions.
The respondents who said they felt “rather unsafe” rose to 13 percent this year from six percent in 2008. Still, antisemitism was ranked as only the sixth most serious threat to the future of Jewish life by the respondents in their countries, with 56 percent of them describing it as such. The top threat, at 66 percent, was “Alienation of Jews from the Jewish community life,” followed by “Demographic decline” at 65 percent. Still, concern about antisemitism showed the largest increase, to 56 percent from 23 percent a decade ago.
CAP: Josef Schuster, President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, speaks during the “Berlin wears kippa” event, with more than 2,000 Jews and non-Jews wearing the traditional skullcap to show solidarity with Jews on April 25, 2018 in Berlin after Germany has been rocked by a series of anti-Semitic incidents.(AFP PHOTO / Tobias SCHWARZ)