Majority of Israelis fear for Jews living in France

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Jewish cemetery vandalized with swastikas in Quatzenheim, in east France . Reuters

i24NEWS survey: Majority of Israeli citizens are concerned for the safety of Jews living in France amid rising anti-Semitism in Europe.

Elad Benari, 21/01/20 01:10

The majority of Israeli citizens are concerned for the safety of Jews living in France as fears over the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe and the western world continue to grow, a new survey commissioned for i24NEWS and revealed on Monday finds.

The poll found that 68% of Jewish Israelis and 32% of Israel’s Arab population believe that “French citizens belonging to the Jewish faith” are not safe in the western European nation.

Moreover, when asked if the French government has done enough to curb anti-Semitic assaults in the country, only 34% said they believe Élysée Palace has instituted “efficient” measures to tackle the problem.

Among the most interesting findings was the clear divide between Israel’s Jewish and Arab population on issues regarding the safety of members of the Jewish Diaspora in France, with many having an inverse perception of the issues being raised by the survey.

For example, 68% of Arab-Israelis believe that the Jewish community in France is relatively safe, with 52% stating that the French government has been effective in curbing anti-Semitism.

The survey also asked who they believed were the main perpetrators of “verbal or violent” attacks against French Jews, with 77% of all Israelis stating that individuals “belonging to the Islamic faith” were responsible, followed by those who hold “far-right” views at 61%.

The list was rounded out by individuals who hold left-wing views (45%) and those who think Christians (22%) are the biggest threat to Jewish life in France.

The number of anti-Jewish offences reported to police in France surged 74 percent in 2018.

Anti-Semitic attacks have including both violence against Jews as well as acts of vandalism, which France has seen a spate of recently.

Last month, a Jewish cemetery in Westhoffen, west of Strasbourg in France, was vandalized with swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti.

In March, vandals scrawled anti-Semitic graffiti on a former synagogue in in the town of Mommenheim.

Two days earlier, vandals toppled a monument to a synagogue which was destroyed by the Nazis during World War II.

Monday’s survey also found that Israeli Jews and Arabs are greatly divided in their takes on US President Donald Trump and his handling of the Middle East peace process since entering into office.

Trump referred to himself as Israel’s best friend on multiple occasions, and Israeli Jews seem to share this view, with as many as 68% of the Jewish respondents saying they viewed the US president positively.

For Arab respondents, the perspective was wildly different — with as few as 11% having a positive opinion of Trump.

The survey, carried out by IFOP for i24NEWS, used a sample of 1,020 people, representative of the Israeli population aged 15 and over, with a margin of error of 1.8%.

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