German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has denounced a fire-bomb attack on a Berlin synagogue, stating that the country “stands united for the protection of Jews”, despite signs of increasing anti-Semitism.
Molotov cocktails were hurled at a synagogue belonging to the Kahal Adass Jisroel Jewish community in the centre of Berlin on Wednesday. Scholz insisted that Germany would “never accept” such attacks, as police noted that anti-Semitism is on the rise.
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The bottles filled with flammable liquid, which were thrown by two masked men, hit the pavement in front of the synagogue without damaging the building. The perpetrators are not reported to have been caught.
While police were investigating the attack, they also arrested another man who approached the scene yelling anti-Israel slogans.
Rabbi Shlomo Afanasev from the Kahal Adass Jisroel community said it was the first time he had felt unsafe in Germany, and that he was now concerned about appearing “openly Jewish”.
“I go to the synagogue since 2006, and … I always go with my kippah on,” he said, referring to the skullcap traditionally worn by Jewish males. “We felt until today very safe here. And never thought something like this could happen in this area. In the middle of Berlin.”
German Chancellor Scholz, who is on a visit to Egypt to support mediation over the crisis in Gaza, said he was “outraged” by the incident and pledged to bolster security for Jewish institutions.
In a post on the social media platform X, he added: “Attacks against Jewish institutions, violent riots on our streets – this is inhumane, disgusting and cannot be tolerated. Anti-Semitism has no place in Germany. My thanks go to the security forces, especially in this situation.”
Clashes at pro-Palestinian events in Berlin’s Neukoelln and Kreuzberg neighbourhoods, as well as at the landmark Brandenburg Gate, resulted in the injury of several police officers on Tuesday night.
Scholz has sought an active diplomatic role in the Gaza crisis, travelling to Israel, and then to Egypt to meet with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The German chancellor has been outspoken in calling for humanitarian aid to Gaza and for an investigation to be launched into the “horrific” air strike that killed some 500 civilians in a Gaza hospital on Tuesday night.
“I am horrified by the images of the explosion in a hospital in Gaza. Innocent civilians were injured and killed. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims, he wrote on the social media platform X. “A thorough investigation of the incident is imperative.”
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies