Roman Jews: We Are Not Afraid

By Michael Ledeen, PJ MEDIA

couple-with-israel-and-italian-flags-5-27-14-2

 A terrorist struck at the Jewish Museum in Brussels on Sunday.  The police are trying to find the killer, but meanwhile, two days later, crowds of people came to the Jewish Museum in solidarity…in Rome.

Riccardo Pacifici, the president of the Rome Jewish community,spoke in a way the Belgians and other European Jews should have:

“It’s time to show these rogues, these murderers, that we are not afraid, they do not intimidate us. We will march together and take them to jail,” according to Italy’s Il Messagero newspaper on Monday.

While many Jews on the other side of the Alps are so frightened of being attacked, they are either leaving or trying to conceal their Jewish identity, it is quite different in Italy, as I detailed recentlyin Tablet Magazine.

In Rome, the Jews have developed a reputation for being tough guys, and they’ve proved the image is correct.  Ever since the main synagogue on the banks of the Tiber was bombed by Palestinian terrorists in 1982, the Rome Community have organized self-defense groups that have gone after antisemitic groups in the city.  They have staged public demonstrations, smashed the headquarters of Jew-hating groups, and occupied courtrooms where Nazis were on trial, lest the judges think there was little public concern about the verdict.

The result?  Judaism is booming in Italy, and has become chic in recent years.  The kosher restaurants in the Rome Ghetto are full, the neighborhood is full of tour groups (many of which are not Jewish, and are actually comprised of Romans and other Italians), and both rents and housing prices have gone sky-high.

There is even a trickle of Catholics converting to Judaism, especially in the south, where families are finding that their ancestors were forcibly converted to Catholicism during the Inquisition.  A few weeks ago, the chief rabbi of Naples sent a letter to the governors of the six southern provinces, asking them to set aside October 31st as a commemoration of the forced conversions and expulsions that were carried out in the mid-16th century.

I think that the vigorous response to the bombing of the synagogue goes hand in hand with the newfound appeal of Judaism, and the open support for the Jews that was seen Monday, when the museum in the synagogue was open until midnight.  I suspect that if the Jewish communities in France, Belgium, Holland and Scandinavia were more aggressive in defending themselves and taking the political and physical fights to the antisemites, there would be fewer attacks on Jews, and the national governments would be less cowardly.

The Italian Jews’ refusal to be intimidated is all the more surprising, and admirable, given the tiny number of them.  Rome, the biggest community, has a mere 15,000 Jews, and there are roughly 35,000 nation-wide.  It helps that this pope, like his two predecessors, openly likes Jews, and that the new prime minister is similarly disposed (he did many things for the miniscule Jewish community when he was mayor of Florence).  But the lion’s share of the credit goes to the Jews themselves, and to brave leaders like Pacifici and the religious leaders who have joined the campaign, who insist on fighting back.

Keep watching this story, there’s a lot going on in Italy.

May 28, 2014 | 18 Comments »

Subscribe to Israpundit Daily Digest

Leave a Reply

18 Comments / 18 Comments

  1. yamit82 Said:

    Spurs or OKC Tonight??

    If I were a braggart, I would loudly mention that the SPURS ATE THE OKC TACOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. ‘Hamas pays hundreds of youths to harass Jews at Temple Mount’
    Top Hamas official Mahmoud Toameh, arrested trying to enter Israel, spills to Shin Bet about Islamic extremist group’s activities and fundraising

    Read more: ‘Hamas pays hundreds of youths to harass Jews at Temple Mount’ | The Times of Israel http://www.timesofisrael.com/top-hamas-moneyman-spills-in-shin-bet-interrogation/#ixzz339T6yjku

    Hamas works with the Islamic Movement (an Israeli organization that promotes Islam among Israel’s Arab citizens) to keep Jews from entering the Temple Mount compound, by retaining a group of young men to harass and throw stones at Jewish visitors. These men, who ostensibly are studying Islamic theology at the site, are paid a monthly salary of NIS 4,000 to NIS 5000 ($1,150-$1,440) for their activities, the Shin Bet said.

  3. yamit82 Said:

    Next time don’t look for a house maid in a Dior house model.
    Well in truth she had other redeeming qualities and I enjoyed cleaning and cooking for those qualities.
    I also enjoyed the envy of other guys when we were out in public. It’s a guy

    TX has all that plus a gourmet cook, house maid [ with cute uniform] artist and computer genius.

  4. honeybee Said:

    Next time don’t look for a house maid in a Dior house model.

    Well in truth she had other redeeming qualities and I enjoyed cleaning and cooking for those qualities.

    I also enjoyed the envy of other guys when we were out in public. It’s a guy thing…. 😉

  5. yamit82 Said:

    They couldn’t cook, clean or give good messages. So I unchained them and showed them the front door.

    Next time don’t look for a house maid in a Dior house model.

  6. honeybee Said:

    How did yours get free??????????

    They couldn’t cook, clean or give good messages. So I unchained them and showed them the front door.

    I hired a maid instead more cost effective and they don’t NAG.

  7. Pope Francis said Monday that pilgrims must enjoy free access to holy sites in Jerusalem, after touring the main places holy to the three Abrahamic faiths.

    But he also called for a “firm rejection” of intolerance demonstrated towards places of worship, in reference to a series of vandalism attacks by Jewish extremists on Muslim and Christian holy places.

    “How good it is when pilgrims and residents enjoy free access to the holy places and can freely take part in religious celebrations,” he said during a visit to the home of Israeli President Shimon Peres.

    “There is .. need for a firm rejection of.. signs of intolerance directed against individuals or places of worship, be they Jewish, Christian or Muslim,” he said.

    Israel has been struggling to contain a wave of so-called “price tag” hate crimes by Jewish extremists targeting Palestinian and Arab property, which has included an increasing number of vandalism attacks on mosques and churches.

    Although police have made scores of arrests, there have been no successful prosecutions, prompting widespread expressions of concern from Christian leaders.

    SCREW THE POOP!!! He is always silent about Arab vilence against the Jewish holy sights.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLpQ0IB-lDo

  8. yamit82 Said:

    There are smart Jews and then there are Dumb Jews

    But where are the female Jews ???????, not in the first video !!!!!!!

  9. This is the story Belman chooses and not a word about JERUSALEM DAY??????

    I admire any Jew who fights not only for himself but for a Jewish collective cause.

    But I pity those Jews in Rome and other places in the exile because they are fighting to remain in the exile and that’s why I know it will not end well for them…Fighting to preserve the exile is contrary to the flow of history and what seems to be the divine will and plan for the Jewish people… It will not end well for them!!!!

    Jews Flee Clashes in Ukraine, Make Aliya on Eve of J’lem Day
    Sharansky: “Agency reps active in all areas and are prepared for any eventuality”;

    There are smart Jews and then there are Dumb Jews.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TW1N6_nJLRM

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V28oJ3wUp2A

  10. “This Pope openly likes Jews”? Not according to his disdainful behavior on his recent trip to Israel.