European Jewish Congress calls on authorities to ensure the security of the continent’s Jews
A Jewish man is in serious condition after he was stabbed Saturday while walking to his synagogue in Antwerp, Belgium.
The European Jewish Congress released a statement saying that the “attacker ran towards two hasidim who were on their way to the synagogue, stabbed one of them in the throat and got away. (The) injured man was taken to the hospital and his life is not threatened. Police are currently investigating the case, local security team is controlling the situation and protecting the neighborhood.”
The motive behind the attack is still unknown and the suspect has been arrested by Belgian police.
Jewish communities across the world have noted an increase in anti-Semitic incidents since this summer’s war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, chief rabbi of the Netherlands, who has experienced over the years several anti-Semitic attacks, told Israeli news site Ynet in an interview published Friday, that “anti-Semitic incidents occur on a daily basis.”
“There were Jews in Holland before and after the Holocaust, but what is happening today reminds many of them of the situation before World War II. I am very careful not to make such comparisons, but on the other hand, I am against turning a blind eye,” he told Ynet.
European Jewish Congress (EJC) President Dr. Moshe Kantor said in a statement that “Jews in Europe have lost a normal sense of security that worsens with every attack on Jews and Jewish institutions which are taking place with alarming regularity,” and called on European authorities to ensure the security of the continent’s Jewish citizens.
US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, urged European leaders at a conference on anti-Semitism in Berlin on Thursday to appoint high-level envoys to focus on anti-Semitism and impose tougher measures against hate-crimes without trampling over the basic democratic right of free speech.
“[A] Europe where anyone feels afraid or endangered because of the actions, beliefs or speech of a neighbor is a Europe where everyone’s rights are at risk,” Power said, adding that “robust steps must be taken.”
Power also wondered why fewer countries were attending than at the first OSCE anti-Semitism conference 10 years ago. “Make no mistake – we have a problem,” she said.
Last May, Frenchman Mehdi Nemmouche killed four people at Brussels’ Jewish Museum.
Nemmouche, 29, of Algerian origin, spent more than a year fighting with Islamic extremists in Syria, and was charged with “murder in a terrorist context” after an Israeli couple, a French woman and a Belgian were shot dead at the museum in central Brussels.
The shooting – the first such attack in Brussels in three decades — raised fears of a resurgence of anti-Semitic violence in Europe.