A survey released by the Latin American Jewish Congress, an affiliate of the World Jewish Congress, has found that the majority of Jews in the region find internal division in the community and community leadership be the greatest challenges facing Jews in Latin America in 2018. Assimilation, which ranked as the highest challenge in 2017, came in third in this year’s poll.
The survey also found that 82 percent of respondents believe in the two-state solution, while 2/3 of Latin American Jewish leaders approve of the transfer of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
The Argentine political consultancy firm Poliarquia Consultores conducted the poll for the Latin American Jewish Congress, surveying 298 leaders from Jewish communities in 16 Latin American countries, with most respondents from Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Paraguay.
This was the second consecutive year that the regional survey was conducted.
When asked what are the “main problems” in the Jewish community, 54 percent said “internal divisions”, 53 percent cited community leadership, and another 43 percent said assimilation. The threat of anti-Semitism came in fourth at 36 percent, while poverty dropped three spots to fifth this year.
Some 64 percent of respondents agree with the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv; 41 percent said that the decision would negatively affect the Jewish community, due to security issues\, while 20 percent believed it would be a positive step toward achieving peace.
Related to the conflict in the Middle East, the 82 percent of respondents who believe in the two-state solution match the percentage of 2017. Nearly half of the respondents – 48 percent – believe that Jerusalem should be the capital of both states, an increase from 43 percent in 2017.
Half of the respondents said that the Jewish community in their country has the necessary infrastructure to guarantee security, and 35 percent believe their safety is guaranteed.
Some 75 percent of respondents believe that there are isolated acts of anti-Semitism in their country, and 86 percent of respondents said it is between “very” and “quite” safe to live openly as a Jew in their country.
“The results of the survey poses a great challenge for the leaders of the Jewish communities in the region,” Claudio Epelman, executive director of the Latin American Jewish Congress, said in a statement.
Regarding relations with other communities, more than 70 percent of respondents believe that the Jewish community must have relationships with the Muslim world and the LGBT community.
The respondents said they ignorance is the main cause of anti-Semitism, as in 2017. Three-quarters of respondents believe that the Jewish community must work against all forms of discrimination, and not just focus on anti-Semitism.