Like many of us, I also realized several years ago that the anti-Semitism in most European countries was not diminishing but rather the exact opposite: It was increasingly growing. I asked myself what was the reason for this phenomenon, which basically has no reason, especially considering the fact that the continent’s large Jewish communities no longer exist.
While the high percentage of Muslims in many European countries spurs anti-Semitism and possibly adds to it, it is only a marginal part of the hatred towards Jews—a “traditional” phenomenon which is hundreds of years old.
As part of my many trips to the “old continent” for lectures and congresses, I decided to try to investigate why the old anti-Semitism was raising its head again. And indeed, following hundreds of conversations with state leaders and simple people—in France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and other countries—I started understanding the main reason.
It’s neither Israel’s stand towards Palestinian terror, nor the fact that Israel (on the day it finds more serious partners than Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) will not give up on all the lands claimed by the Palestinians but will defend its interests (does Switzerland really care if the Palestinians receive or don’t receive a few more kilometers near Hebron?) The real reason for the hatred towards Israel, which is a clear expression of anti-Semitism, is jealousy.
For some reason, the majority of “(still) free and (still) democratic” countries envy the rapid and inconceivable success of the Jewish state in many diverse areas. How is it possible that within just 69 years, Israel has turned from a desert and wilderness into one of the most developed, advanced, modern and beautiful countries in the world? How is it possible that the Jewish state—which has basically not experienced a single day of calm, serenity and peace since its establishment—is way ahead of most of the countries of the world in the technologies it develops? How has it become a leader in inventing agricultural techniques and methods and devices for fighting different diseases?
I could have gone on and on. I could have mentioned, for example, the Air Force and our intelligence community (the Mossad), which are considered the best in the world in their field. Or I could have mentioned the fact—and I say this with a lot of grief—that our army is No. 1 in all aspects.
It’s true that the teaching method in our schools is not among the most advanced, but Israeli students usually reach the first places in most science “Olympiads.” In the past 20 years, eight Israelis have received Nobel Prizes, right after the United States and Britain. The prestigious prize laureates per capita is among the highest in the world. And how many Germans, Austrians, French or Swiss have won?
Here’s the main reason for the rise in anti-Semitic incidents—jealousy and envy. In this atmosphere, the old and banal argument about the Jews’ “financial control” and deceit is being repeated. Deceit? There are of course big swindlers among the Jews, just like in every other country in the world. So what?
Like everyone, we also make mistakes on different levels. But a mistake like the one made by the city of Berlin, for example, is unique: In 2011, they were about to open an airport that was supposed to be one of the most advanced and beautiful airports in the world. Named after Nobel Prize laureate Willy Brandt, the airport is still under construction, five years after it was originally planned to open. According to experts, if it ever does open, it won’t happen before 2019. Dozens, if not hundreds, of mistakes were made in the airport’s construction, which costs billions more than the initial calculation. It turns out that even the great and developed Germany is not immune to mistakes.