German Chancellor Angela Merkel has denounced a “different type of anti-Semitism” that has taken root in her country and vowed to do everything possible to ensure the safety of Jews in Germany.
Surprisingly, Merkel appeared to link Germany’s current anti-Semitism problem to the increase of refugees.
Merkel said, “We have refugees now, for example, or people of Arab origin, who bring a different type of anti-Semitism into the country.”
In 2015, Merkel infamously declared that German’s borders were open to all refugees. This announcement resulted in around 1 million asylum-seekers reaching the country in 2015. At times more than 10,000 people were arriving daily.
“But unfortunately, anti-Semitism existed before this,” Merkel clarified.
Last week Merkel’s government appointed a new commissioner to fight anti-Semitism and to support Jewish life in Germany. This role had never been needed until now.
“The fact that no kindergarten, no school, no synagogue can be left without police protection dismays us,” Merkel said.
According to preliminary police statistics, at least 1,421 anti-Semitic crimes were committed last year — including at least 32 of a violent nature. That compares to 1,434 in 2016, along with 34 violent crimes. Seeing a slight decrease in anti-Semitic crimes.
However, anti-Semitic incidents – including those not considered criminal offences — appear to be rising.
The Department for Research and Information on Anti-Semitism, a Berlin-based NGO, recently highlighted that two to three incidents are reported per day in the German capital. According to the group, the number of individuals affected rose by 55 percent in 2017.
Merkel’s comments follow an assault last week on the streets of Berlin when a 21-year-old Israeli and his Jewish friend were attacked by a refugee shouting “Yahudi”, the Arabic word for “Jew”.
Merkel condemned the attack at the time.