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The head of the European Jewish Congress called on Croatia Wednesday to adopt strict anti-Semitic laws after recent incidents in which local Jews were targeted.
Pierre Besnainou said that in the European Union, which Croatia hopes to join by 2009, "We have ever more harsh [anti-Semitic] laws and we hope that Croatia... will adopt very harsh laws so that the incidents like the recent ones can be adequately punished."
The Croatian Jewish community has reported receiving two letters within the past week at its headquarters, one threatening to "pay Palestinians to destroy Jews," and another denying the Holocaust and offending Jews.
In addition, a local assistant rabbi, Zvi Eliezer Alonie, was pushed and verbally attacked by a group of skinheads in downtown Zagreb on Saturday.
Croatian police detained the writer of the first letter - a 21-year-old student - and said it was investigating other incidents. But Alonie told Croatian media his attackers would have been arrested in his home country of Germany already, just because they carried Nazi symbols.
Croatia has laws punishing glorification of Nazism or fascism, but it does not have a separate law dealing with anti-Semitism.
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