German-Jewish teen says fleeing Berlin for Israel over schoolyard antisemitism

15-year-old Liam Ruckert, whose mother is Israeli, plans on relocating to Israel to continue his studies.

April 7, 2018 16:02
2 minute read.
German-Jewish teen says fleeing Berlin for Israel over schoolyard antisemitism

A man wearing a yarmulke looks at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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15-year-old German-Jewish student Liam Rückert told the BZ daily on Friday that he plans to relocate to Israel to continue his education due to what he said was rampant Muslim-animated hatred of Jews in the Berlin public school system.

"I want to go to a boarding school like my brother in Israel. I already visited him and he is doing well there," Rückert said. His mother Billy is from Israel and taught her sons Hebrew.

In 2016, a student of Arab origin said during a discussion of the Middle East conflict in Rückert's class: "If there is a Jewish student in the class, I would kill him." According to the BZ article, students of Polish and Arab descent have targeted Liam with insults such as "shitty Israeli" and "shitty Jew." The Berlin school barred Liam from changing classes at the school named Jungfernheide. The school has the highest number of migrants in the city, with 62.1 % of the students having an immigrant background.

"I could previously trust my Arab friend Hussein," said Rückert, adding that the two boys "both had a secret: that I am a Jew and that he is gay." Rückert said he has anxiety to return to the school and declines to attend a required meeting every Friday because of the psychological pressure, the BZ wrote. Rückert is currently involved in an internship outside of the school.

Billy said the teachers sought to play down the antisemitic attacks. "We received no support from the school," said Billy on a German TV talk show.

The BZ wrote that antisemitic attacks in Berlin schools are a daily occurrence. Last week, the father of a German Jewish girl said his daughter was "accosted by Muslim students because she does not believe in Allah."

Josef Schuster, the president of the roughly-100,000 member Central Council of Jews in Germany, said in late March that "if Jewish students can no longer go to school without fear of antisemitic abuse, there's something wrong in this country." It is unclear if the rise of antisemitism in Germany, where 40% of the population hold modern antisemitic views - according to a government-commissioned study last year - will lead to a wave of aliyah.

Frank Jansen, a national security reporter at the Berlin daily Tagesspiegel, reported on Wednesday that the Salafi--Sunni extremist movement has doubled its numbers in Germany, citing numbers from the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany's domestic intelligence agency.

According to the report, the number of radical Sunni Islamists now totals 11,000, with 850 in Berlin alone. The city and state of Berlin register a total 250 Hezbollah members.

The US considers all of Hezbollah as terrorist entity while Berlin only proscribed Hezbollah's military wing a terrorist organization. According to Berlin's local intelligence agency, there are 70 Hamas members operating in the capital. The US and the EU list Hamas as a terrorist organization.

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