European Jews are free to flee anti-Semitism by moving to Israel, but they ought to think twice before they give up on Europe, Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress, said Monday.
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"Today, Jews are the only European minority which is afraid of sending kids to school," Kantor said at the fourth international "Let My People Live!" conference, the day before the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. He said the iron door at his children's school was 20 centimeters thick, making it difficult for some parents to open.
Kantor has felt "violence in the air" in European cities, he said, adding, "I have heard the slogans 'Hitler was right' and 'Jews go to the ghetto!' I have read on the walls 'Close Guantanamo, reopen Auschwitz!' But Europeans remained in comfort[able] arrogance. And terrible tragedy happened in Paris."
But that doesn't mean Jews should leave Europe, he said.
In response to a question about whether immigration to Israel is the solution to anti-Semitism in Europe, Kantor advised European Jews to consider staying.
"It's an individual question, and I say to these individuals: Israel is not a bad place," Kantor said. "You are free to go. But before it, think over. You are living in Europe, in your home, 3,000 years, it's not so bad."
He added that Europe's Jews would not stop protecting their community, saying he was working on legislation and a plan of action meant to counteract "the threats of radical Islam, neo-Nazism and anti-Semitism in Europe."
The anti-Semitism in today's Europe is analogous to "the period when Hitler's tyranny was just shaping up," Kantor said.
"In certain vital aspects, jihadism is very close to Nazism. One could even say that they are two facets of the same evil," said Kantor. "I think that today, we need to speak in a very clear manner and discuss deep issues without thinking about political correctness and how it would sound."
After the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris earlier this month, one of which targeted a kosher supermarket, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he wanted to tell all French and other European Jews that "Israel is your home," a comment that prompted criticism from European Jewish leaders.