“Fears of identifying as Jewish in many European cities predate the October 7 attacks, though the outbreak of war has made the situation even more fraught.
“In France, in Belgium and in many other places it’s not safe to wear a kippah. Not before the Hamas attack and not now,” said Raya Kalenova, the executive vice president and CEO of the European Jewish Congress.
The hostility is forcing changes in the lives of European Jews who do not regularly wear a kippah, as well. “The mezuzah had to be moved, and I need to be more alert,” said Chaim Benistant, a 36-year-old Dutch Jew from the Amsterdam area who is an entrepreneur and Dutch Air Force reservist.
Drawing on his experience in business, he tries to envisage Europe’s antisemitism problem as a chart. “It’s a series of peaks, followed by dips,” he said. The dips may lull many into a feeling of safety, but “each peak exceeds the previous one.” It’s causing Benistant to “seriously question whether there’s a future for people of Jewish descent in present-day Europe.”
But the continent’s antisemitism problem is itself a symptom of an even bigger problem, Benistant added, which is causing him to “worry about my society itself.”
“Those who are currently comfortable or naïve enough to subscribe to Hamas propaganda will become victims of Islamist globalism unless we change course,” he predicted.”