Ambassador to Germany: Jews no longer feel safe

Sunday, October 22, 2006 |  by Staff Writer
In an interview to the German Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung, Israeli Ambassador to Germany Shimon Stein said that he is concerned by the rise in power of extreme right-wing organizations in Germany, the increase in the number of Nazis in the country, and the rise in anti-Semitism. Stein said that the tendency of the neo-Nazi groups to use violence is also on the rise.

Ambassador Stein said that these trends are very worrisome and is calling for the awakening of the entire German society. The ambassador mentioned that the fact that the extreme right in Germany was able to record successes in the regional elections and was able to elect a number of representatives into three regional parliaments in Germany, indicates that the phenomenon has passed the stage where it could be considered as marginal. “This is not a threat on democracy in Germany, but we cannot say that this is only a marginal phenomenon,” he said.

The ambassador added that he has a feeling that the Jews in Germany are not safe. “They can’t always act freely regarding their religion, and the best evidence for that is the heavy security system surrounding the synagogues and the institutions of the Jewish community. The striving towards normalcy remains frustrating,” the ambassador added. These words were said just as the German interior ministry published updated figures regarding acts of anti-Semitic violence in Germany. According to the report, during the first eight months of 2006, there has been a 20 percent increase in race-related violence and thuggery conducted by neo-Nazis: 8,000 incidents this year, compared to 6605 last year. In comparison to 2004, that is an increase of 50 percent.

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