Finland’s Exceptional Jewish Community

Until 1809, Finland and Sweden were a single country, and the two countries still share much in terms of their legal systems. Yet, writes Annika Hernroth-Rothstein—herself a native of Sweden—the two Jewish communities could not be more different. Swedish Jews suffer from widespread anti-Semitism, while Finland has relatively little by European standards. Moreover, Finnish Jewry seems to display a self-confidence that their Swedish coreligionists lack. “Finnish Jews were said to be tougher, taller, and even quieter than their Swedish counterparts,” Hernroth-Rothstein notes. In this exploration of Finnish Jewry, excerpted from her forthcoming book, she tries to answer the question of why this should be, beginning with attitudes toward the Jewish state:

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Read more at Tel Aviv Review of Books

More about: Anti-Semitism, Europe and Israel, European Jewry, Israel and the Diaspora, Sweden, Synagogues

Hamas Is Winning the War for Palestinian, and Israeli Arab, Hearts and Minds

While many in the West seem to think the current fighting in Israel is about housing policy, or human rights, or the selective blockade of the Gaza Strip, the rhetoric of Palestinian leaders and on Palestinian social media makes clear that it is in fact about al-Aqsa mosque. This should come as no surprise: fabricated claims that “al-Aqsa is in danger” have been used to provoke anti-Jewish violence for a hundred years. In this particular case, explains Haviv Rettig Gur, both Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party exploited the claim in their rivalry for Palestinian hearts and minds:

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Al-Aqsa Mosque, Hamas, Israeli Arabs, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict