Following months of heated debate, scaremongering and the killing of a British lawmaker in relation to Britain leaving the European Union, Britons headed out to vote on Thursday on their future relationship with Europe.
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Haaretz has thoroughly covered the referendum over the past several months, presenting some Brexit pros and cons, what it means for the Jewish community, and, of course, how the vote's results are set to affect Israel.
Voting to leave Europe is the most un-Jewish thing you can do, argues Anshel Pfeffer. It betrays the fortunate legacy of British Jews, he says, to hope that a Brexit will deny other refugees of war and dictatorship the sanctuary our great-grandparents received.
Ilan Baron similarily notes that Jews in Britain can only help build on a wider scale the kind of moral and political solidarity central to a centuries-old Diaspora Jewish identity by declaring commitment to Europe.
Mudassar Ahmed says the Jewish community isn’t the only one that must support staying in the EU. A win by the anti-EU Brexit campaign, already riddled with anti-Muslim bigotry, he notes, would not only boost but legitimate xenophobic sentiments against minorities in the U.K. and across Europe.
The "Leave" camp, however, sees things quite differently. Amiel Ungar argues that the EU deserves to crumble, saying that it’s not the EU’s self-perpetuating elites that are Europe’s last defense against totalitarianism, but that their disdain for public opinion is more likely to feed fascism.
And despite the Brexit vote being a primarily European concern, Israel too has made it into the debate. Read Seth Lipsky's op-ed on why Brexit's big lie is that voting "Leave" is bad for Israel.
Jacques Lafitte and Denis MacShane, however, argue that a British exit from the EU should worry Israel. They argue that a Britain outside the EU means Israel will lose an important insider voice and critical traction in the shifting and sometimes hostile EU debates about what policies to adopt toward Israel.
Azriel Bermant also notes that while many in Israel would experience schadenfreude at the sight of a weakened Europe, this would be short-sighted. Read his opinion on what's at stake for Israel if Britain leaves the EU.