Israel’s president calls for more Holocaust education in reaction to Yom Kippur vandalism.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
President Reuven Rivlin joined the British community in reacting with shock to the picture of a car spray-painted with a huge swastika in Bristol, England, on the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.
“This is the shocking sight of rising #Antisemitism – a swastika sprayed on a car on Yom Kippur in Britain yesterday,” he tweeted. “Words of condemnation are not enough. We need #Holocaust education and remembrance so governments and societies everywhere actively challenge this threat to Jews.”
The anonymous vandal also covered the BMW’s windshield with the neon-yellow paint besides drawing the Nazi symbol on the car hood.
According to Channel 20, the car belonged to a Jewish man who parked next to his home. A Jewish neighbor, Nick Helfenbein, found it on Yom Kippur and was floored by the sight.
“I was completely shocked when I saw the giant symbol of hate on the car on Waters Road, Kingsford,” he said. “It’s awful, it’s a gut punch. Me and my wife, who is the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, feel anxious about this – it was right next door to where we live. We used to feel it was quite a safe neighborhood. It has put us on edge.”
“It’s a sign that people are starting to feel empowered enough to do something like this,” he added.
In one of the reactions to the president’s social media posts, the Hertfordshire Friends of Israel wrote, “Well, it did happen in Bristol, President Ruvi [Rivlin’s nickname]. Unsurprisingly for us Zionist Brits. Bristol is, afterall [sic], a hotbed of hard-left, Marxist antisemitism!”
In 2019, Bristol city councillor Harriet Bradley was suspended from the Labour Party following protests over comments she made on social media that were considered anti-Semitic. She was reinstated following an internal investigation but in July she resigned her position due to ill health.
In February, the Community Security Trust, which monitors anti-Jewish hatred and advises British Jewry on security matters, reported that a record high 1,805 anti-Semitic incidents had occurred in the UK in 2019. It was the fourth year in a row that the dismal record had been broken, and marked a 7% increase over 2018. In 330 of them, the report said, “the offender or offenders made reference to Hitler, the Nazis, the Holocaust, employed discourse based on the Nazi period, and/or punctuated their abuse with a Nazi salute or the depiction of a swastika.”
The local British police have called for any witnesses to contact them as they investigate the hate crime.