Philanthropists donate $4 million to keep Jews safe in Malmo, Sweden

The announcement prompted some criticism about the community’s need for philanthropy to cover its security costs.

By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ/JTA
June 22, 2019 11:16
1 minute read.
Malmo synagogue in Sweden.

Malmo synagogue in Sweden.. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 
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Two philanthropists donated more than $4 million to security for Jews in Malmo, Sweden.

Lennart Blecher, who is Jewish, and Dan Olofsson, who is not, decided to donate the total sum to “instill some hope in the Jewish population, so they feel that even if the politicians do not want to do something, there are people who are prepared to stand up for them,” Olofsson told Dagens Nyheter Sunday.

The announcement prompted some criticism about the community’s need for philanthropy to cover its security costs, which the municipality does not fully cover.



“It is unreasonable that a members of the Jewish community should finance basic security arrangements to protect themselves against attacks,” journalist Sofia Nerbrand wrote in an op-ed about the donation published Monday in Dagens Nyheter. “It’s a fundamental task for state and municipality.”



The donation came amid preparations for an international conference on fighting anti-Semitism planned by the government in Malmo and plans to open Holocaust museum in the Swedish city.



Malmo, a city where a third of the population is from Muslim countries, has several hundred Jews and dozens of anti-Semitic incidents annually.



On May 1, supporters of the country’s ruling party chanted about “crushing Zionism” at a rally in Malmo, whose previous mayor led the procession.



The incident on a march for workers’ rights by the Swedish Social Democratic Youth League — a branch of Prime Minister Stefan Lofven’s party — prompted an outcry by Malmo’s Jewish community. Lofven also condemned the chants.

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