My wife was born in Israel and most of her extended family still lives there. We have several close friends living there, plus I also have journalist friends and acquaintances in Israel.
It’s wonderful to have so many people I care about in a nation to which I’m deeply connected. However, this means that when we visit, which is often, we generally have a packed schedule. This leaves us little down time for rest and seeking out new experiences, even when we’re there for a couple of weeks or more.
So for that we schedule stopovers in Europe, either going or coming. Just the two of us and a rented car, exploring and hanging out where our interests take us, including beautiful and nourishing environments. We're also drawn to Jewish historical sites, old synagogues and the like.
We’re now thinking about another trip to Israel this spring or summer. But this time, we’re considering skipping our usual European respite. Why? Because of the increasingly overt anti-Semitism.
We have no desire to either experience it anew or spend our money in societies where the dislike of Jews and Israel are menacingly on the rise.
A disturbing survey, released just last week, by the European Union on the growing insecurity of the continent's Jews — and their increased desire to emigrate — prompted our reevaluation. Here’s part of how Bloomberg reported the survey's chief findings.
Insecurity fueled by anti-Semitism prompted a growing number of British, German and Swedish Jews to consider leaving their countries, according to a landmark survey conducted by the European Union.
Nine out of every 10 Jews sense anti-Semitism is getting worse with some of the most acute concern registered in northern Europe, according to the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency. The survey is the largest of its kind worldwide and polled more than 16,000 Jews in 12 countries.
“Mounting levels of anti-Semitism continue to plague the EU,” said Michael O’Flaherty, the Irish human rights lawyer who runs the Vienna-based agency. “Across 12 EU member states where Jews have been living for centuries, more than 1/3 say that they consider emigrating because they no longer feel safe as Jews.”
Concerns over safety are prompting Jewish communities in some of the EU’s biggest economies to question whether they should remain, according to the data. In Germany, their share soared to 44 percent from 25 percent six years ago.
The BBC ran its online story on the survey under the headline, “Anti-Semitism pervades European life, says EU report.”
Let that sink in for a moment. “Pervades.”