School textbooks in Syria make uncomfortable reading. Jews, pupils are told, reject Allah's divine truth, their state is illegitimate, Israeli occupation of Arab lands is a crime. A 25-year-old Syrian, whatever his views of Bashar al-Assad, whatever his personal misery, will have been brought up with these unquestioned views and some will have drawn the conclusion: it is impossible, indeed wrong, to live side by side with Jews.
We are seeing the results of this in Europe today. Antisemitism is on the rise, especially in countries that took in large numbers of migrants from Arab countries. At the outset of this month's Hannukah festival, two Syrians and a Palestinian firebombed a synagogue in Gothenburg, Sweden. A few days later a Jewish cemetry in Malmö was attacked. In Germany, the Israeli flag has been burned and Jewish pupils bullied by Arab schoolmates. Jewish elders offer advice on which districts it is risky to wear the kippa, the Jewish skullcap.