'No future for Jews in Germany,' says German Jewish teenager
German Jews explain why they are relocating to Israel.
By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL
The large German broadsheet newspaper Die Welt titled online on Saturday: “Why young Jews are leaving Germany.”According to the Die Welt (The World) article, 50 young German Jews left Germany in 2018 to enroll in the Israeli government-sponsored Naale program. Young Diaspora Jews can apply to be accepted into a high school program organized by the Naale scholarship program, with a view toward aliyah.The 15-year-old Golda Maertens, who has been accepted to Naale, told Welt reporter Philip Kuhn “I also think that there is no future for Jews” in Germany.In September, Golda will start school at the Mosenson boarding school outside of Tel Aviv.The Jerusalem Post reported in 2018 that the 15-year-old Liam Rückert enrolled in Naale.“I want to go to a boarding school like my brother in Israel,” Ruckert said last year. “I already visited him and he is doing well there.”In 2016, a student of Arab origin reportedly said during a discussion of the Middle East conflict in Rückert’s class in Berlin: “If there is a Jewish student in the class, I would kill him.” Students of Polish and Arab descent have targeted Rückert with insults such as “shitty Israeli,” and “shitty Jew.”“I’m totally afraid of Muslim antisemitism,” said Maertens’s mother, Evelyn. “I cannot judge how bad this will become.” According to Welt, Maertens’s aunt in Tel Aviv has repeatedly urged the mother and daughter to move to Israel because it is no longer safe in Germany.“But it’s normal for me to always put my necklace with the Star of David outside the Jewish high school [in Berlin] under my clothes,” Maertens said, adding, “The boys wear a baseball cap in the summer and a cap over the kippa in winter.”Evelyn also hides her Star of David in public.“We do not want to provoke anyone,” she said she had told her mother in the 1980s.The Welt article reported that 14-year-old German Jew Jamela Etoundi was also accepted to Naale, which is co-sponsored by the Jewish Agency and the Education Ministry.“We have not talked about anything else for years,” Etoundi said. “My mother dragged me to Israel every free minute.”While attending a Berlin school, a teacher queried Etoundi about her beliefs.After it was revealed that she is Jewish, her classmates used antisemitic language such as “You Jew” to dehumanize her. “Previously, I was just called shitty n*****.”Etoundi’s father is from Cameroon and her mother is a German Jew who was born in the former communist German Democratic Republic.A picture of Golda Maertens was featured on the front page of Die Welt’s Saturday print edition, along with her comments about the lack of future for Jews in Germany.In 2016, the spokesman for Hamburg’s Jewish community, Daniel Killy, said deteriorating security in Germany has led to a highly dangerous situation for Jews.“No, we are no longer safe here,” Killy said at the time. He said the disintegration of state power, excesses of the extreme right-wing, the loss of political credibility, and “the terrible fear of naming Islamism as such” have contributed to an insecure environment for Jews. Hamburg’s Jewish community has nearly 2,500 members. Just under 100,000 Jews are registered with the Central Council of Jews in Germany.Germany has absorbed more than one million refugees from mainly Muslim-majority countries.According to critics, Germany’s government has failed to combat rising Islamic-animated antisemitism in the country. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration has refused to outlaw the entire antisemitic organization Hezbollah in Germany, where 950 Hezbollah operatives spread antisemitic and jihadi ideologies.The German Jewish columnist Michael Wuliger, who was born in 1951, said at a conference on modern antisemitism in Berlin in 2017 that if he was younger he would probably make aliyah. He writes for the weekly German Jewish newspaper of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.