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Jewish Communities warn government about Rising Anti-Semitism in Europe

Mike Pence visited the Dachau concentration camp to pay respect to the jews killed in holocaust; Jews in Europe are scared even today due to terror attacks

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Mike Pence visits Dachau concentration camp, wikimedia commons

Munich, Feb 20, 2017Jewish communities in Europe say they feel especially vulnerable following the terror attacks across the continent in recent years, and want governments to dedicate extra policing and intelligence efforts to keep them safe.

Community leaders meeting at the Munich Security Conference Sunday also warned that the rise of populist far right parties threatens their way of life.

Jewish leaders say the plight of their people in Europe will always be seen in the shadow of the Holocaust.

U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence and his family travelled the few kilometers out of Munich Sunday to the site of the former Nazi concentration camp at Dachau.

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U.S. troops liberated the camp on April 29th 1945.

In total six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Seventy-two years later, Jewish communities across the continent say anti-Semitism is on the rise again.

A session was convened Sunday on the sidelines of the Munich summit to debate how Europe’s Jewish communities can be protected, attended by former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni. Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis, told VOA security is the number one concern for Jews across the continent.

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“Terrorism – which we have seen in Toulouse, in Paris, in Copenhagen, in Brussels – which has impacted the Jewish community and has also created an exodus from some countries.”

Four percent of the Jewish population in Belgium and France had left for Israel between 2010 and 2015, according to a recent study by the London-based Institute of Jewish Policy Research.

Both countries have seen Jewish communities targeted. In 2014 an Islamic-state inspired attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels killed four people. In 2015 gunmen attacked a kosher supermarket in Paris – the same day as the assault on the offices of the magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Terrorism expert Peter Neumann of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization told the conference specific protection is needed.

“Jewish communities are always in the frontline if you like, and that’s why it’s important that governments intensify their efforts to protect them. It’s also important for Europe in a grander sense, because when Jews get attacked in Europe it is not only Jews as individuals or as a community, in a sense it is the very fabric of our society.”

It’s not only terrorism that’s driving fear. The rise of the populist far right – especially National Front leader Marine Le Pen in France – has raised concerns that religious practices like circumcision or kosher food could be outlawed, according to Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt.

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“France is going to be a different country, Europe is going to be a different continent if Marine Le Pen becomes the president of France. There is a coalition, a strengthening of the extreme right in Europe as a by-product of the changing administration in the United States which is of concern,” Goldschmidt told VOA.

Former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni also called for better intelligence sharing between Europe and Israel. (VOA)

 

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Find out How Coronavirus Pandemic Has Disrupted Global Food Supplies

Explainer: How Coronavirus Crisis Is Affecting Food Supply

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coronavirus
People wait in line to buy food amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in downtown Havana, Cuba. VOA

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted global food supplies and is causing labor shortages in agriculture worldwide. This is the latest health news.

Are there food shortages?

Panic buying by shoppers cleared supermarket shelves of staples such as pasta and flour as populations worldwide prepared for lockdowns.

Meat and dairy producers as well as fruit and vegetable farmers struggled to shift supplies from restaurants to grocery stores, creating the perception of shortages for consumers.

Retailers and authorities say there are no underlying shortages and supplies of most products have been or will be replenished. Bakery and pasta firms in Europe and North America have increased production.

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Food firms say panic purchasing is subsiding as households have stocked up and are adjusting to lockdown routines.

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Agricultural workers clean carrot crops of weeds amid an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a farm near Arvin, California, U.S. VOA

The logistics to get food from the field to the plate, however, are being increasingly affected and point to longer-term problems.

In the short term, lack of air freight and trucker shortages are disrupting deliveries of fresh food.

In the long term, lack of labor is affecting planting and harvesting and could cause shortages and rising prices for staple crops in a throwback to the food crises that shook developing nations a decade ago.

What’s disrupting the food supply?

With many planes grounded and shipping containers hard to find after the initial coronavirus crisis in China, shipments of vegetables from Africa to Europe or fruit from South America to the United States are being disrupted.

A labor shortage could also cause crops to rot in the fields.

As spring starts in Europe, farms are rushing to find enough workers to pick strawberries and asparagus, after border closures prevented the usual flow of foreign laborers. France has called on its own citizens to help offset an estimated shortfall of 200,000 workers.

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More wide-scale crop losses are looming in India, where a lockdown has sent masses of workers home, leaving farms and markets short of hands as staple crops like wheat near harvest.

Is food going to cost more?

Wheat futures surged in March to two-month highs, partly because of the spike in demand for bakery and pasta goods, while corn (maize) sank to a 3½-year low as its extensive use in biofuel exposed it to an oil price collapse.

Benchmark Thai white rice prices have already hit their highest level in eight years.

Swings in commodity markets are not necessarily passed on in prices of grocery goods, as food firms typically buy raw materials in advance. A sustained rise in prices will, however, eventually be passed on to consumers.

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A farmer feeds iceberg lettuce to his buffalo during a 21-day nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Bhuinj village in Satara district in the western state of Maharashtra, India. VOA

Some poorer countries subsidize food to keep prices stable.

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The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has warned that a rush to buy by countries that rely on imports of staple foods could fuel global food inflation, despite ample reserves of staple crops.

Fresh produce such as fruit or fish or unprocessed grains such as rice reflect more immediately changes in supply and demand.

Will there be enough food if the crisis lasts?

Analysts say global supplies of the most widely consumed food crops are adequate. Wheat production is projected to be at record levels in the year ahead.

Also Read- Every Hospital in US May Treat COVID-19 Patients: Health Human Service Agency

However, the concentration of exportable supply of some food commodities in a small number of countries and export restrictions by big suppliers concerned about having enough supply at home can make world supply more fragile than headline figures suggest.

Another source of tension in global food supply could be China. There are signs the country is scooping up foreign agricultural supplies as it emerges from its coronavirus shutdown and rebuilds its massive pork industry after a devastating pig disease epidemic. (VOA)