Attacks against Jews rose almost 10 percent in Germany last year, with violent acts soaring by more than 60 percent alone, latest crime statistics reveal.
Police recorded 1,646 offenses motivated by antisemitism, according to a government answer to a request by far-left Die Linke party lawmaker Petra Pau.
Among these were 62 violent offenses that left 43 people injured, up from 37 physical attacks the previous year.
Germany’s Central Council of Jews is calling for action following a report showing a rise in anti-Semitic attacks in the country.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer says the government’s position “is fully clear — that anti-Semitism has no place in Germany.”
But Central Council of Jews president, Josef Schuster, called for a “stronger commitment” from police, politicians and the judiciary.
“The latest numbers are not yet official but they reflect a trend, and that’s alarming,” he said. “What Jews had already felt subjectively has been confirmed by the statistics.”
In one prominent 2018 case, a 19-year-old Syrian man was convicted for assault after lashing out with his belt at an Israeli man wearing a Jewish kippa skullcap while shouting “yahudi”, Jew in Arabic.
A video of the street assault, filmed by the victim on his smartphone, had sparked widespread public revulsion as it spread on social media, and triggered street rallies in solidarity with Jews.
News of the belt attack coincided with another public outcry, over a rap duo who made light of Nazi death camp prisoners but went on to win the music industry’s sales-based Echo award, which was subsequently axed.
Days after the belt assault, some 2,000 people rallied at a “Berlin Wears Kippa” solidarity demonstration, matched by smaller events in several other German cities.