We reported last night about “youths” in Berlin who beat up a rabbi and threatened his six-year-old daughter.
Hermes has translated excerpts from several follow-up news stories about the incident published in German-language media.
First, from Der Tagesspiegel:
“This was an attack against freedom of religion”
The attack took place at 6:20 p.m. in the Becker Street, which is part of the “painters’ district” in Friedenau. Here where the streets bear the names of artists like Cranach and Rubens live the Rabbi with his wife and two children. Neighbors who live in the same building are horrified. “We are shocked by what happened,” says a 68-year-old neighbor, “and in the presence of his little daughter.” The district is of middle-class style, but there are certain problems with an “accumulation” of Arab youths who live in a new block of flats in the nearby Dürer Square. The block near the Friedenau train station was inhabited by Arab families, whose children went in groups and were often aggressive. The worst times were some years ago, but then the inhabitants created the citizen’s initiative “Dürer-neighborhood” in order to make improvements in the district.
“Everything got better after the apartment house was renovated,” the pensioner said. This initiative ceased to exist two years ago. The owner of the trattoria in Becker Street, in which the rabbi is a regular customer, confirms that there are problems with the Arabs. “The rabbi is a peaceful, quiet and courteous man. Where do we live, that someone is beaten because of his faith?” the Italian restaurant owner asks angrily. The rabbi had dinner in his restaurant that night, and at that time he saw “Arab youths” walking nearby and lighting their cigarettes. He noticed nothing about the attack, because a hedge obstructed the view. “The rabbi ran towards me, he had wounds on his face,” the owner said. Dürer Square is one block away, surrounded by the railway station underpass, an Aldi-Market and pastel-colored apartment blocks
And from N24.de
Jewish community sees an increased number of attacks
After the attack against a rabbi in Berlin, a debate on anti-Semitism and possible causes for the attack has erupted. The four perpetrators, who according to the police were youths of Arab origin, have not yet been detained. The Jewish community in Berlin announced that they are planning to develop their own data bank to register anti-Semitic incidents from 2013 on. “The verbal attacks against Jews have increased,” said Gideon Joffe, the chair of the community.
Rabbi Walter Rothschild spoke about a “new dimension”. He himself has been already attacked and also received insulting emails. Rothschild additionally reported that he no longer wears the traditional Jewish head covering (kippah) in public.
Finally, from Berliner Morgenpost:
Everyday hate against Jews on the streets of Germany
The brutal attack against a rabbi in Berlin has not taken the Jewish community of the capital by surprise. Anti-Semitism has been increasing for a long time. It is prevalent especially amongst Turks and Arabs.
On Wednesday Muslim organizations and associations have condemned the attack against the rabbi from Berlin. “I condemn the incident in the name of the 17 Arab organizations which belong to this center,” said Ali Maarous, the director of the German-Arab Center.
The attack was no surprise for the Jewish community in Berlin. “Members of the community have been experiencing increasing verbal anti-Semitism for a long time,” said Gideon Joffe, the president of the community, on Wednesday. “For us it was just a matter of time that words would be followed by concrete actions. We hope that here there will not be an atmosphere like in Sweden, France or The Netherlands, where attacks against Jews happen almost daily.”
Anti-Semitism amongst Turks and Arabs
As recently as August 7, a drunken man insulted a couple in Friedrichshain in an anti-Semitic way and threatened them. One year ago, a 13-year-old was beaten in Prenzlauer Berg because he was wearing a kippah. Some years ago several youths of Arab origin attacked orthodox Jews in Charlottenburg.
Just two years ago, the Jewish community pointed to an increasing level of anti-Semitism, mostly amongst young Turks and Arabs. The Foundation Amadeu-Antonio has for a long time labelled anti-Semitism as the main problem in “huge urban residential areas with predominantly Muslim inhabitants.”
The German-Arab Center sees the origin of anti-Semitism in the Arab countries from which the members of the Arab communities come. “The parents follow the conflict in their homelands daily, even when living here in Germany,” the director of the center, Ali Maarous said. They are furious about what happens in their homelands.
“This fury and the hate then passes to the children,” Maarous said. The center works on the task of educating young people. Youth have been told in numerous seminars to stay away from political disputes and to deal with them in a rational way.