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.

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Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky and Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver pose with a family of immigrants from France that arrived in Israel. July 16, 2014.Credit: 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.