A report featuring the top 10 issues affecting Jews this year has been released by the anti-defamation league (ADL).
The initiation of talks between Iran and other world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program made the list. Since Iran’s moderate President Hassan Rouhani took office in August, he’s been leading a ‘charm offensive’ with the West in order to improve his country’s economy and tarnished image in exchange for limitations on its nuclear program. Israel remains skeptical of the Islamic regime’s real intentions. ADL National director Abraham Foxman said the main question is whether it’s ‘truly serious’ about conceding its nuclear weapons program.
The ADL also cited that anti-Semitism in parts of Europe and South America is a serious concern following the rise in assaults, harassment and vandalism. The rise of neo-Nazi parties was highlighted. Political parties such as Hungary’s Jobbik Party, Greece’s Golden Dawn and the Svoboda party in Ukraine have gained popularity. The World Jewish Congress has called for a ban on these parties. The report also criticized the Polish parliament for voting against a proposal to allow kosher slaughter, saying it was a ‘clear threat’ to religious freedom. The report though didn’t mention a recent decision by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to recommend banning ritual circumcision.
The report also cited the new push towards a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, spearheaded by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
The election of Pope Francis was also hailed as a significant moment. In his first outreach to the Jewish community, he sent a message of friendship to Rome’s chief rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni, expressing hope that he would be able to contribute to the progress in relations between Jews and Catholics. The Pope also met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently.
The other top 10 important issues included the Syrian civil war, anti-Israel activity in American colleges, anti-Semitism challenges for internet providers and Supreme Court decisions in the US which have changed Jews civil rights.