Sharansky: Jewish History in Europe Is at the Beginning of Its End

Jewish Agency Chairman's comments come in light of recent anti-Semitic incidents throughout Europe during Israel's operation in Gaza.

David Salem

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky warned last week that "we are seeing the beginning of the end of Jewish history in Europe," in an op-ed published in the U.K.'s Jewish Chronicle last week.

Sharansky joins a number of European figures, including French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, to warn about the alarming rise of anti-Semitism on the continent since the beginning of Israel's military operation in Gaza on July 8.

In Britain alone, the number of anti-Jewish incidents has more than doubled in the past month. According to a report in the Daily Mail, more than 100 events have been recorded since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, the second-highest total since Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense in 2008.

Newsweek's upcoming cover story on rising European anti-Semitism highlights the rise in far-right political parties as directly correlated to rising numbers of anti-Semitism throughout European countries.

Sharansky himself estimated in June that between 5,000 and 6,000 Jews were expected to leave France for Israel this year because of anti-Semitism.

"Never in the history of the State of Israel has there been a Jewish community in the free world that has sent such a large proportion of its Jews to Israel," Sharansky said at the time.

Sharansky has been an outspoken critic of European anti-Semitism since the early 1970s, when he became the symbol of Soviet Jewry's struggle for human rights.