Top European rabbi: Synagogues no longer a safe haven

The Conference of European Rabbis holds a panel on situation of continent's Jews.

February 19, 2017 14:56
2 minute read.
Synagogue France

Armed French soldiers stand in front of a Synagogue during a visit of French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve after an attack in front of a Jewish school in Marseille's 9th district, France, January 14, 2016.. (photo credit: REUTERS/JEAN-PAUL PELISSIER)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


“Synagogues are no longer a safe haven,” a top European rabbi said Sunday at a panel discussion about the situation of Jews across the continent, held in the framework of the Munich Security Conference.

“At the back of almost every Jew’s mind is the possibility of what could happen. Sadly, in Copenhagen, Brussels and in Paris, that has become a reality,” Chief Rabbi of Moscow Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said at a breakfast event he was hosting titled “Securing Jewish Communities across Europe.”

“The Jewish community finds itself targeted from a number of directions; from the extreme Right, the extreme Left and Islamic terrorism,” he said, referring to terrorist attacks that have targeted Jews in European countries in recent years.

The event took the form of a panel discussion featuring MK Tzipi Livni, Deputy CEO for Diplomacy of the World Jewish Congress Maram Stern, director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization Dr. Peter R. Neumann and former director of Europol Jürgen Storbeck. German journalist Richard Schneider moderated the discussion.
Scene of Copenhagen attack

Stern expressed a similar sentiment to Goldschmidt, noting that while he feels comfortable walking the streets in general, when the synagogue is his destination he begins to feel uneasy.

“People are curious who walks in and who walks out, it is like you are in a zoo,” he remarked.

Livni said while Israel feels a responsibility for the security of Jews around the world, “it is the responsibility of every state to protect its citizens and we cannot take away from that.”

“Every Jew should be able to walk around looking Jewish and not face discrimination,” she added.

Stobeck addressed Berlin’s capabilities to deal with the threat of terrorism, saying that before December’s ramming attack at a Christmas market, the German security services did not have enough funding.

“After the attack in Berlin, security services got a lot of money,” he said. “But you need to improve information management both nationally and internationally.

We are still not quick enough, and we do not have a good [long-term] forecast.”

Neumann described Jews as a “priority target.”

“They are the first ones to be targeted.

If Jews are being targeted, then all citizens should be worried because there is more to come,” he warned, indicating that nobody should be lulled into a false sense of security by a period of calm.

“Just because the Jewish community has not been attacked in the last year, it does not mean it is not a target,” he added.

Turning to the rise of the far Right in Europe, Neumann said: “At the core of every far-right party, there is bona fide antisemitism.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

THE IRISH flag atop the historic post office in Dublin.
July 16, 2019
Dublin City Council wants to renovate Ireland’s oldest Jewish cemetery


Cookie Settings