Malmo’s Swedish-Jewish community set to dissolve over security concerns

Following the dissolving of the Jewish community of Umea in Sweden last year, the community of Malmo might be next due to rising anti-Semitism and violent crimes.

By Tsivya Fox-Dobuler, World Israel News

Swedish community spokesman Fredrik Sieradski told JTA on Tuesday that Malmo, Sweden might follow Umea in dissolving its Jewish community. This is the first time in decades that European Jewish communities have disappeared due to security concerns.

It is estimated that there are 20,000 Jews presently living in Sweden. Most live in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo.

Though Sweden’s Parliament gave official recognition, in 2000, to its Jewish citizens as one of five minorities in the country, and also recognized Yiddish as an official minority language, Sweden is not known for its pro-Jewish stance.

Jewish ritual slaughtering of animals (shechitah) has been against the law since the 1930s. Circumcision for boys under 18 is allowed by a medical doctor. However, there is constant lobbying to ban the practice.

JTA reported in 2018 that the Jewish Community of Umea was dissolved, in part, because of Neo-Nazi intimidation.

The BESA Center reported in 2018, “Sweden has taken in the highest number of migrants in western Europe as a percentage of population. Most immigrants come from Muslim countries where societies are permeated by extreme anti-Semitic prejudices. The authorities there promote Jew-hatred as national policy. Sweden can thus be characterized as a major importer of anti-Semites out of humanitarian motives.”

These immigrants have led Sweden to become the test case for the rest of Europe and especially the safety of Jews. President of the European Jewish Congress Moshe Kantor stated, “The challenges that the Jewish community in Sweden face today are sadly indicative of far wider phenomena taking place across Europe.”

Last week, The Jerusalem Post reported that a third of the population in Malmo comes from Muslim countries. The city has several hundred Jews who have experienced dozens of anti-Semitic incidents annually.

The paper wrote that two philanthropists had donated more than $4 million to boost security for the Jews of Malmo. Dan Olofsson, one of the donors, told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter that his support was to “instill some hope in the Jewish population, so they feel that even if the politicians do not want to do something, there are people who are prepared to stand up for them.”

Rabbi Shneur Kesselman, the Chabad movement’s emissary to the Malmo region, told JTA that he had personally witnessed and experienced hundreds of anti-Semitic incidents. He said that most of these were verbal assaults, although violent crime against Jews is rising. Kesselman said that almost every anti-Semitic incident came from Middle East immigrants.

Unless circumstances change, Sieradski estimates that Malmo will dissolve itself by 2029.