Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Not exactly a safe haven

Netanyahu's call to European Jews to emigrate to Israel to flee antisemitism raises the question whether Jews really are safer in Israel than in Europe. It is hard to see how they would be. According to this (rather anti-Palestinian) web site 37 Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks in 2014. Plus, six Israeli civilians and 64 Israeli soldiers were killed in the Gaza War that year. In the entire EU, there were four people killed in the Belgian Jewish Museum shooting (one of  those four was half Jewish and half Muslim), and, um, was there anything else?

Sure, there are almost six times as many Jews in Israel as there are in the entire EU. But even adjusting for population, your chance of a violent death is much much higher if you go to Israel. And those chances of death are made worse by the fact that the Israeli government's reactions to some of the deaths of Israelis often results in the deaths of more Israelis (e.g. the 70 additional Israelis killed last year because of the Gaza War).

I realize that the reason that Jews are feeling threatened in Europe is as much about the increase in antisemitic vandalism and threats that do not lead to anyone's death. That certainly is a legitimate reason to be scared. It just makes little sense to go to Israel if you want to be safe.