Possibly fearing the increasing loss of their Jews as European Aliyah escalates, European leaders and communities are taking steps to combat local anti-Semitism.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls visited the Great Synagogue in Paris just before Rosh Hashanah, and declared, "Denying the existence of Israel is the first step towards anti-Semitism."
Speaking to more than 1,000 representatives of the French Jewish community, Valls assured them that the fight against anti-Semitism is a national cause. 'To be a Jew, to be French, French and Jewish identities are inseparable,’’ he said.
In Italy, the Jewish community announced the launch of a special hotline by which victims of anti-Semitic attacks - and witnesses thereof - can report the incidents.
Renzo Gattegna, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, explained that the goal is "to nullify any threat of hatred and discrimination." He added that the hotline would have great benefit "especially now that old biases are back even in the most advanced and democratic societies."
The hotline, known as 'Antenna Anti-Semitism,' will be accessible by phone and online. It was launched with the backing of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI) and the Foundation of Jewish Contemporary Documentation of Milan (CDEC).
In Germany earlier this month, Chancellor Angela Merkel declared before thousands of people, "Anyone who hits someone wearing a skullcap is hitting us all. Anyone who damages a Jewish gravestone is disgracing our culture. Anyone who attacks a synagogue is attacking the foundations of our free society."
According to the Service for the Protection of the Jewish community of France (SPCJ), a 91% increase in anti-Jewish acts was recorded there during the first seven months of this year – an average of more than 2.5 anti-Semitic acts or threats per day.
Questioned by the President of the Consistory Joel Mergui regarding the measures taken by the French authorities to ensure the safety of the Jewish community, PM Valls said that the government had redesigned its national action plan against racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia and made it "more ambitious."