Merkel: All German synagogues, Jewish schools need police protection

Chancellor admits constant battle with anti-Semitism, says Germans have to face ‘the specters of the past’

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a speech in Munich, Germany, May 24, 2019. (Christof Stache/AFP)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a speech in Munich, Germany, May 24, 2019. (Christof Stache/AFP)

German leader Angela Merkel said Monday that her country’s Jewish population needs constant police protection.

Merkel addressed the current rise in anti-Semitism in her country, saying in a CNN interview that it has “always had a certain number of anti-Semites among us, unfortunately.”

“There is to this day not a single synagogue, not a single daycare center for Jewish children, not a single school for Jewish children that does not need to be guarded by German policemen,” Merkel said.

Last week the German government’s anti-Semitism commissioner, Felix Klein, set off a controversy when he suggested in the wake of a rise in anti-Semitic attacks that it was too dangerous for Jews to wear the traditional Jewish head covering in parts of the country.

Police guard the entrance of a synagogue in Bremen, Germany on March 1, 2015. (AP /dpa,Carmen Jaspersen)

Merkel said Germans had to face up “to the specters of the past.”

“We have to tell our young people what history has brought over us and others,” the chancellor said.

On Monday Merkel’s spokesman stressed the country’s responsibility to ensure security for all Jews wearing kippahs anywhere in the country without having to fear anti-Semitic attacks.

“It’s the job of the state to ensure that anybody can move around securely with a skullcap in any place of our country,” Steffen Seibert said.

Government statistics released earlier this month showed that the number of anti-Semitic and anti-foreigner incidents rose in Germany last year, despite an overall drop in politically motivated crimes.

On Monday, Bild, Germany’s largest newspaper, printed a Jewish skullcap on its front page so that Germans could cut it out and wear it in solidarity with the local Jewish community.

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