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28 May, 2019 20:48

Police should guard every synagogue, Jewish school & daycare in Germany – Merkel

Police should guard every synagogue, Jewish school & daycare in Germany – Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken out against anti-Semitism in Germany, and said that police have to guard every synagogue, Jewish school and daycare center in her country.

“We have always had a certain number of anti-Semites among us,” Merkel told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview aired on Tuesday. “Unfortunately, there is to this day not a single synagogue, not a single day care center for Jewish children, not a single school for Jewish children that does not need to be guarded by German policemen.”

Merkel stressed a need to learn from her country’s troubled past.

“We have to tell our young people what history has brought us and others and these horrors, why we are for democracy...why we stand up against intolerance.”

Anti-Semitism is certainly on the rise in Germany. 2018 saw a near 20 percent rise in hate crimes against Jews and a near doubling of physical attacks compared to 2017, according to Interior Ministry figures. Meanwhile, the German government’s anti-Semitism commissioner Felix Klein told local media over the weekend that he “can’t recommend Jews to wear kippahs anywhere at any time in Germany,” earning him a rebuke from Israeli President Reuven Rivlin for “capitulation to anti-Semitism.”

Amanpour questioned Merkel on anti-Semitism in the context of the surge in popular support for nationalist parties like the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD). AfD finished in third place behind Merkel’s centrist coalition and the Green party in last weekend’s European Parliament elections.

After several years of missing the threshold to enter Germany’s parliament, AfD finally won 94 seats in the Bundestag in 2017, riding a wave of popular anger at Merkel’s 2015 decision to let more than a million migrants enter Germany. The party has been accused of harboring racists and anti-Semites, but some accuse the new arrivals to Germany of bringing religious hatred of their own.

From the Syrian migrant who beat a Jewish man with a belt in Berlin while shouting “Jew” in Arabic, to the group of suspected migrants who threw a firecracker at an Israeli journalist, to the mob who left a Syrian-Jewish boy with a head wound following a savage beating, a string of attacks began to build up a picture.

Also on rt.com Beatings, harassment & bullying: Germany’s anti-Semitic hate crimes soar by 10%

In a feature article titled ‘The New German Anti-Semitism’ last week, the New York Times describes a Germany in which Jewish parents encourage their children to keep their ethnicity to themselves at school, to avoid bullying from “Muslim students...who use the word ‘Jew’ as an insult.”

In her CNN interview, Merkel suggested that anti-Semitism in Germany remains connected to the country’s Nazi past. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer also attributes the bulk of last year’s attacks to right-wing extremists.

Anti-Semitism in Europe has traditionally been the preserve of the fringe right and fringe left. However, German Jewish community leaders have increasingly warned that Middle Eastern migrants are a new source of hatred. Last November, a group of these leaders requested that migrants be required to attend integration classes to combat the prevalence of anti-Semitic attitudes.

With anti-Semitism coming from both new and traditional sources, Jews are increasingly feeling pressured to leave Germany. An EU-wide survey last year found that in 13 countries surveyed, Jews in Germany, France, and Belgium were most likely to consider emigrating to Israel.

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