A new study has shown that Italy, Hungary, and the UK are among the best European countries in which to live if you are Jewish, with Denmark and Austria also scoring highly.
The index, compiled by statisticians using a combination of national policies and quality-of-life polling data, was a project of the European Jewish Association (EJA) and unveiled in Budapest on Monday, in the presence of Hungarian ministers.
Some countries, such as Germany, scored highly in terms of the national government’s efforts to protect and celebrate its Jewish community, but fared less well when it came to Jews’ security perceptions.
The results, arrived at with the help of Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) researcher Daniel Staetsky, placed Belgium bottom of the list of 12 European countries with sizeable Jewish populations.
“The goal with this report is to take the excellent data we already have about how Jews feel, about how prevalent antisemitism is, and combine it with government policy measurables,” Staetsky said.
Propping up the table were Belgium, Poland, and France, with 60, 66, and 68 points respectively, while Italy came top with 79, followed by Hungary on 76. The UK, Austria, and Denmark all got 75 points, with the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, and Spain making up the list.
Based in Brussels, the EJA this month praised the National Jewish Assembly, a new British Jewish group founded by Gary Mond, a senior vice-president at the Board of Deputies who resigned ahead of an Islamophobia investigation.
Despite it coming bottom, the EJA last week praised the Belgian government in Brussels, where the parliament recently voted not to ban kosher slaughter. “There are few bastions left where freedom of religion is still considered a fundamental right,” the EJA said.
EJA chair Rabbi Menachem Margolin explained that the index was primarily a tool “to demand concrete action from European leaders,” adding: “We welcome statements against antisemitism by European leaders, but more than statements is needed.”
Earlier this month, he described Mond’s National Jewish Assembly as “dynamic and forward-thinking” and praised the leadership for taking “a much-needed different approach to answer the pressing needs as well as develop the many opportunities for UK Jewry that have been up to now been overlooked or not acted upon”.
In 2018, Margolin argued that Jewish communities should work with far-right parties if they are elected into positions of power, despite Israel and almost all European Jewish community groups refusing to engage.
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