After anti-Semitic outrages, Austrian city of Graz unveils plan to combat Jew-hatred

“We have to remain vigilant, sensitize people and carry everyone with us,” she emphasized.

By Algemeiner Staff

The southern Austrian city of Graz has unveiled a plan to combat anti-Semitism in the wake of two alarming incidents targeting Jews last summer.

On Aug. 19, the synagogue in Graz was daubed with the slogan “Free Palestine,” following which Jewish community President Elie Rosen warned of a rise in “left-wing and anti-Israel anti-Semitism.”

Two days later, Rosen was himself attacked by an assailant wielding a wooden club. Rosen managed to escape the attacker unhurt.

Announcing the “Together Against Anti-Semitism” initiative at the Graz synagogue on Friday, Rosen was joined by the Austrian government’s EU minister, Karoline Edtstadler.

Edtstadler described the initiative as a “struggle for society as a whole.”

“We have to remain vigilant, sensitize people and carry everyone with us,” she emphasized.

Rosen explained that the anti-Semitism initiative was built on educational efforts to make schoolchildren more aware of the culture and history of Jews in the Styrian region of Austria, at the same time training teachers to counter anti-Semitism in the classroom.

Among the characters younger visitors to the synagogue will meet is the “Grazer Golem,” described as a “comic-book hero.”

Earlier this week, the Austrian Council of Ministers passed a “Law to Safeguard Austrian-Jewish Cultural Heritage,” more than doubling the government’s financial support for the Jewish community.

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Austrian broadcaster ORF reported that the Jewish community’s budget would be increased from 1.3 to 4 million euros for “the protection of Jewish institutions, the promotion of inter-religious dialogue and the preservation of Jewish cultural heritage.”