German Jewish leader urges Jews to move to Israel, cites antisemitism

"You can’t live in this country as a Jew! And I don’t want to live in this country anymore," Jewish community head Semen Gorelik said.

A man waves an Israeli flag during a rally against antisemitism, in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin in May.  (photo credit: CHRISTIAN MANG / REUTERS)
A man waves an Israeli flag during a rally against antisemitism, in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin in May.
(photo credit: CHRISTIAN MANG / REUTERS)

The chairman of a Jewish community in the German state of Brandenburg on Wednesday announced in a blistering public letter that he is making aliyah and urged German Jews to follow suit due to the concerning rising tide of antisemitism in the country, he said.

I am going to Israel and I recommend everyone who professes Judaism to leave this country as soon as possible,” said community head Semen Gorelik in an announcement to pro-Israel news website Die Achse des Guten (The Axis of Good).

In a furious bill of particulars, Gorelik, who arrived in Germany in 1996 as a refugee from the Former Soviet Union, wrote, “With its anti-Jewish foreign and domestic policies, the country has proven that antisemitism is an inseparable part of the state political ideology of this country. You can’t live in this country as a Jew! And I don’t want to live in this country anymore.

"[Germany] has proven that antisemitism is an inseparable part of the state political ideology of this country"

Semen Gorelik

“I don’t want to live in a country whose president [Frank-Walter Steinmeier] lays a wreath at the grave of the murderer, terrorist and antisemite Yasser Arafat!”

German and Israeli national flags (credit: REUTERS)German and Israeli national flags (credit: REUTERS)

Gorelik continued: “I don’t want to live in a country where, as a Jew, I have to hide everywhere and at all times. I don’t want to live in a country where part of the population sees our Israeli flag as a provocation. I don’t want to live in a country where you can’t wear a kippa on the street.”

Gorelik’s father, he said, spoke Yiddish and Hebrew and oversaw a Jewish association in Potsdam, the capital city of Brandenburg. The association served as a residence for newly arrived Jewish immigrants and religious services were occasionally conducted at the institution.

”Together with 60 other Jewish families, we decided to found a real Jewish religious community in the state of Brandenburg in order to rebuild the destroyed Jewish life and to enable the immigrated Jewish families to be able to live Jewish in this federal state,” he wrote.

Gorelik served in his position for over 23 years.

Brandenburg government 'refused to rebuild Jewish life'

He noted that the state government of Brandenburg refused for decades to support the rebuilding of Jewish life and provide security for the necessary protection of the Jewish community.

The Law-abiding Jewish Community Brandenburg, the official name of the community, is independent of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, which is subsidized by the state.

The Central Council of Jews in Germany, including its president Dr. Josef Schuster, has faced criticism from Israelis and German Jews over the years for what they see as his failure to robustly confront Germany’s alleged appeasement policies toward Iran.

The Jerusalem Post sent media queries to the Central Council of Jews in Germany and to Dr. Schuster.

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 told the news outlet tagesschau.de. 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.