Report: Merkel Pledges Security Increase for German Jewish Community

October 10, 2019
BERLIN, GERMANY – OCTOBER 09: In this photo provided by the German Government Press Office (BPA), German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) joins members of the Jewish community at a vigil outside the New Synagogue on October 9, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. Earlier today a suspected anti-Semitic, far-right shooting at a synagogue took place in Eastern German city of Halle that left two dead. (Photo by Jesco Denzel/Bundesregierung via Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an Oct. 10 phone call that she will ramp up security for the Jewish community following the Oct. 9 shooting at a synagogue in Halle, Germany, the Times of Israel (TOI) reports.

Netanyahu’s office released a statement saying that Netanyahu told Merkel that “it was important to intensify efforts opposing the phenomenon [of anti-Semitism],” and Merkel responded “that she intends to step up security measures for the Jewish community.”

Germany’s Central Council of Jews President Josef Schuster told public radio station Deutschlandfunk the fact that there was only one private security guard protecting the synagogue was “scandalous.” The alleged gunman wasn’t able to enter the synagogue because the door to the synagogue remained locked despite the gunman shooting at it.

“This incident has changed the feeling of Jews in Germany,” Schuster said, adding that he is meeting with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer to discuss the matter.

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) is also urging the German government to increase security at Jewish institutions. AJC Berlin Ramin Institute Acting Director Remko Leemhius said in a statement, “The safety and the lives of Jews cannot depend on how thick the door is.” He added that the German government needs to “look at the loss and see there’s something they can do.”

Jeremy Borovitz, who was at the synagogue when the shooting happened, told Deutsche Welle that community members said, “It’s a holiday, it’s not so dangerous” when asked why there was a lack of security at the synagogue.

The alleged gunman shot and killed a woman outside the synagogue and a man at a nearby kebab shop on Oct. 9. He was arrested later in the day.

According to the German Interior Ministry, there was a 19.6% increase in an anti-Semitic incidents from 2017 to 2018.

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