Jew Hatred on the Rise in the UK
Anti-Semitism in the UK On the Rise, But Jewish Life Thrives
Last month, a small English city called Leicester grabbed headlines when Rabbi Shmuli Pink, Chabad representative there was targeted by anti-Semitic vandals. In three separate attacks, bricks shattered the windows of Pink’s home and car, shaking the 300-strong Jewish community.
In the UK, anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise. According to Dave Rich, Deputy Director of Communications at Community Security Trust (CST), a charity organization which ensures the security of Jewish communities in the UK and is currently taking measures in Leicester to protect the Pinks, it is true that there is an “upward trend of anti-Semitism in the UK over the last decade.”
“There’s a significant spike when tensions in the Middle East flare up,” he says. In 2010, 639 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded by CST in their Anti-Semitic Incidents Report for that year.
Jonathan Arkush, senior Vice President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews insists that despite these statistics, Jewish life is flourishing in the UK.
“If you were to ask me whether we are in decline, my answer would be absolutely no,” says Arkush. The most meaningful indication of growth, he says, is the number of Jewish schools today, which have grown by an astonishing 1000 percent in the last twenty years.
“If we have more children graduating Jewish schools, then by extension you have quality as well; more children are getting a better Jewish education. That’s not a story of decline.”
Today, 250,000 British Jews live in London, and the “flavor of Jewish life is rich and varied, with so many Jewish classes, programs and services available to the community,” Arkush says.