MUNICH, Germany – Increasing anti-Semitism in German schools has increased significantly over the last year, convincing many Jewish students to transfer to Jewish or private schools to avoid harassment.
The Huffington Post reports there has been a 10 percent increase in anti-Semitic crimes in Germany in the last year – 788 cases in 2013 versus 864 last year – and it’s impacting students across the country.
“This became clear during last weekend’s Jewish Youth Congress, held in Berlin, which was also attended by Hans-Georg Maassen, the president of Germany’s Domestic Intelligence Service,” the Post reports.
“At the Youth Congress, speakers stated that bullying of Jewish students has grown so pervasive that ‘pupils concerned have to leave regular school to attend Jewish schools,’ according to the well-known German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.”
“It is a fact that there are people who feel provoked by a kippa or the Star of David,” Maassen said. “One must be simply aware of that and, in those areas, one should act in an appropriate way.”
Central Council of Jews in Germany President Josef Schuster told rbb Inforadio last month that it’s probably a good idea for Jewish folks to put away those items when in areas with a lot of Muslims to avoid harm, The Jewish Daily Forward reports.
“The question is whether, in areas with a large proportion of Muslims, it is sensible to be recognized as a Jew by wearing a kippa or if it isn’t better to wear some other form of head covering,” Schuster said, adding that he believes the new wave of anti-Semitism is fueled by the political far right and young Muslims.
“It is a development I did not expect five years ago and that’s a bit shocking,” he said.
The hostility against Jews is also tied to violence in the Middle East, according to the news site.
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“A survey by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation last November highlighted a blurring of the lines in Germany between anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel, with 27 percent of those asked equating the Jewish state’s treatment of Palestinians to the Nazis’ persecution of Jews in World War Two,” The Jewish Daily reports.
“Other, earlier polls have found that 15-20 percent of Germans have latent anti-Semitic views.”
Deidre Berger, director of the American Jewish Committee in Berlin, recently wrote in The Times of Israel that “anti-Semitic incidents occur every day in Germany, on the streets, in schoolyards, in train stations, on the soccer field, and throughout social media.”
“Due to specific cases of bullying and a general climate of anti-Jewish hostilities, some pupils prefer to attend Jewish schools and private schools,” she told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, according to the Post.
In the Times of Israel editorial, Berger highlighted the dangers Jews face in Germany, but she also commended the government for talking action to protect its citizens.
“That there have so far been no terrorist attacks in Germany is due less to lack of trying than to intelligence information that prevented planned attacks,” she wrote. “In Germany alone there are dozens of trained jihadists who have returned from Syria, seeking fresh targets.”
But in the wake of the recent attack on a Copenhagen synagogue, Zentralrat President Josef Shuster “called for a review of current security measures, as the spreading Islamic terrorism in Europe targets Jews and Jewish life as high priority goals.”
“Federal press spokesperson Stefan Seibert said that the government ‘wishes to undertake everything in its power to ensure that Jewish life can continue to develop here.’” Berger wrote.