Merkel: Anti-Semitism part of Germany’s reality

Merkel tells Jewish community she has “great concern” that “anti-Semitism in Germany has never disappeared.”

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday that anti-Semitism in her country has never disappeared and that many Jews do not feel safe there.

Merkel made her remarks at an event in Berlin marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Central Council of German Jews.

“We can be glad of flourishing Jewish life,” Merkel said, “but that is only one part of today’s reality. The other part of today’s reality is that many Jews don’t feel safe and respected in our country, and it causes me great concern.”

“It is a disgrace, and it shames me deeply, how racism and anti-Semitism are expressed in our country in these times,” Merkel said. “Racism and anti-Semitism never disappeared, but for some time now they have become more visible and uninhibited.”

The chancellor’s remarks have been echoed in recent years by other sources in Germany. The rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin, Yitzhak Ehrenberg, told a German news agency in May 2019 that he does not recommend Jews in Germany circulate outside wearing a kippah (skullcap) on their head in neighborhoods where there are Muslims.

Ehrenberg’s comments came in response to a warning issued by the government commissioner for anti-Semitism in Germany, Felix Klein, in which said that he could not claim that Jews are safe any time and anywhere in Germany, especially when wearing a kippah.

A year ago, the Jewish community in Germany was shocked following a shooting attack on a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle.  Stephan Balliet is currently on trial for murder and in court expressed no remorse for the attack while affirming his fundamental beliefs. At one point, he explained that he would not describe himself as a “Nazi” or a “fascist,” but simply as an “anti-Semite.”

Balliet documented part of the attack using a helmet camera that captured him trying to break into a local synagogue by firing at the door. When he failed to gain entry to the synagogue he opened fire on nearby streets, killing two passersby. In the self-made video, Balliet is heard saying “Jews are the root of all problems,” cursing Jews and accusing them of being the source of all evil.