During last week’s European Jewish Association (EJA) conference in Budapest, Jewish leaders gathered to speak about how to respond to increasing antisemitism in Europe.

Rabbi Shomo Koves, Chief Rabbi of Associations of Hungarian Jewish Communities (EMIH), tells Israel National News that the threat to Jewish communities in Europe, which was discussed at the summit, is taking place on multiple levels.

“The threat to Jewish life in Europe today is at least double-fold. But maybe even triple. This is a problem that has become stronger in the last few years. Especially when it comes to antisemitism which is based on extreme Islamist ideology. The antisemitism of this sort is a physical threat on the day-to-day security of many Jews in many Jewish communities, especially in Western Europe,” Rabbi Koves says.

He also warns of the increase in anti-Israel sentiment in the last few years, which he describes as another manifestation of antisemitism.

He remarks that it has become part of the mainstream in many of Europe’s political parties and movements.

Besides anti-Israel activism, he also mentions the banning of different Jewish religious practices, such as kosher slaughter and circumcision.

“[These bans] make life on a day-to-day level impossible for many Jews living in Belgium, Sweden or Poland,” he says. “The issues of freedom of religion, which are in an extreme way destroyed with these types of bans, are a new type of threat to Jewish life in Europe.”

When asked if the situation is so bad that it is causing Jews to leave their countries and perhaps to make aliyah, he comments:

“I’m a strong believer in the pro-Israel sentiment and believe that the best for a Jew is to live in Israel, I also believe that a Jew should never leave his country because he’s afraid or because there is a ban on Jewish life. He should move to Israel because this is the country of our heritage,” he says.

“I wouldn’t say Jews are leaving these countries yet because of these issues. But it’s definitely making their lives harder and it’s definitely making them live like second class citizens in their own country, which is a very unpleasant feeling, especially in a continent like Europe with its own bloody history. Also, Jews need to find on a practical level solutions for these issues.”

He mentions that after the ban on kosher slaughter in Belgium, the Jewish community started relying on Hungary for kosher meat.

“Today, a big percentage of kosher poultry being sold in Europe is slaughtered here in Hungary because Hungary stands up against these bans. Hungary stands up for the freedom of religion. And Hungary stands up for the freedom of religious practices, especially when it comes to the Jewish communities.”