- European Jews feel as threatened as they did in the Holocaust, experts say
- Almost 10,000 Jews fled to Israel in 2015, the highest annual number ever
- The majority of the immigrants are from France, which has the highest population of Jews in the European Union and third highest in the world
Jews in Europe feel as threatened now in Europe as they did during World War II and the Holocaust, experts have said.
An exodus of western European Jews have flocked to Israel after rising anti-Semitic attacks reached an all-time high.
Almost 10,000 Jews from West Europe immigrated to Israel in 2015, the highest annual number ever.
Nearly 80 per cent of the migrants are from France, where attacks have left the world’s third-largest Jewish population rattled.
While Jews have been targeted in Belgium, Denmark and other European countries, France has has been the most dangerous for Jewish people.
Just this week, a machete-wielding teen attacked a Jewish teacher in the French town of Marseille, prompting a local Jewish authority to ask fellow Jews to refrain from wearing their traditional skull caps to stay safe.
There are increasing reports of assaults and intimidation against Jews by mostly from Muslim extremists.
France is still recovering from a series of attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 that killed 130 people and mourned the anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the same day a kosher grocery store was attacked, leaving 17 people dead.
In each case, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.
France’s Jewish community of 500,000 people is the largest in Europe.
Jewish schools and synagogues are often surrounded by soldiers in combat fatigues who patrol the streets with automatic rifle.
Though Jews make up less than 1 percent of the population, French officials say more than 50 percent of all reported racist attacks in 2014 were directed against them.
While some attacks have been linked to anger at Israeli policies toward the Palestinians, most have been anti-Semitic in nature.
Close to 800 Jews have have left Britain for Israel and Italy and Belgium follow next on the list.
‘That a record number of European Jews feel that Europe is no longer their home should alarm European leaders and serve as a wake-up call for all who are concerned about the future of Europe,’ said Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky.
‘At the same time, the fact that Israel has become the number one destination for European Jews seeking to build a better future elsewhere is a tribute to the appeal of life in Israel and the values the Jewish state represents,’ Sharansky added.