Jews of Turkey fear growing antisemitism

The crisis between Israel and Turkey is not only affecting Israeli tourists seeking inexpensive all-inclusive vacations, but also a Jewish community living in a Muslim majority state.

By IRIS GEORLETTE/MAARIV
July 5, 2018 02:03
1 minute read.
Jews of Turkey fear growing antisemitism

ANTI-ISRAEL protesters hold placards and a Palestinian flag during a demonstration to mark the annual al-Quds Day in Istanbul in July 2016. The placards read, ‘Free Jerusalem, a World without Israel’ (left) and ‘Down with Israel.’. (photo credit: MURAD SEZER/REUTERS)

 
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"A Jew means 'liar'", "A Jew is a man who stabs people in the back", "A Jew is a coward to kills weak people" - These are just a few examples that representatives from the World Zionist Union encountered this week at an elementary school in Istanbul, Turkey.

It turns out that the crisis between Israel and Turkey not only affects tourists looking for cheap all-inclusive summer vacations, but also, and especially the Jewish community living in a Muslim majority country. This is a centuries-old community which proudly carries on their traditions dating back to the Jewish expulsion from Spain. 

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Today, the Jewish community in Turkey is exposed to antisemitic incitement which is done by slanting public opinion on the streets against the State of Israel and the Jewish people. For this reason, there is a growing concern for the welfare of the Jews of Turkey, since history shows that antisemitic murders comes in the wake of ongoing incitement.

According to representatives from the World Zionist Organization, there has been a recent intensification of expressions against the State of Israel and the Jewish people by Turkish officials, led by the President of Turkey.



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Israel's President Rivlin calls for restraint in the wake of Israel-Turkey row, May 17, 2018 (Reuters)

In the most recent example, signs were found in a public school in Istanbul that read: "A Jew means 'liar'","A Jew is a man who stabs people in the back" and "A Jew is a coward who kills weak people".  Another sign read: [they will] reach Jerusalem and 'liberate it'.

In response to these harsh statements, Yaakov Hagoel, Deputy Chairman of the World Zionist Organization and head of the department for combating antisemitism said: "I am extending my hand to the Jewish community in Turkey and call on it to stand firmly against slander against the People of Israel and the State of Israel."

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