SYNAGOGUES SET ON FIRE IN EUROPE
As the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians aggravated, a wave to anti-Semitism engulfed Europe from Great Britain to Ukraine. Threats, malicious graffiti, shelling Jews with stones, gunshots, bomb explosions, acts of terror in synagogues were among crimes of anti-Semites.
Anti-Semitic moods have never completely disappeared from the continent after World War II. They received a mighty impetus after the beginning of another Palestinian "intifada", which occurred in September 2000, and acquired particularly ugly forms after March 29 this year when Israel began military actions on Palestinian territories. The police in Great Britain, which is proud by its multinational community, registered minimum 15 anti-Semitic episodes over the last month, including assaults and letters with threats addressed to most prominent persons among 300 thousand Jews of the country, defiling of synagogues with racist slogans.
These attacks have urged Chief Rabbi of Great Britain Jonathan Saks to declare, "Anti - Semitism in Europe is on the rise". He accused Islamic extremists of rousing anti-Jewish moods in Great Britain and on the continent. This problem is particular acute in France where there is tension between 700 thousand Jews and 4mln. Muslims. Only over April the Ministry of Internal Affairs of France registered merely 360 crimes against Jews and Jewish establishments. This outburst coincided in time with the escalation of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
Demolition of the synagogue in Marseilles is the sixth successive attack on Jewish religious offices in France over the last week. In Lyons 15 men in masks broke into the territory of a synagogue in cars and set them on fire. Another group set fire to a synagogue in Strasbourg, but the damage turned out minimal. An unknown scoundrel opened fire at a kosher store in a village near Toulouse. A Jewish school was looted in Sarseilles located in the vicinity of Paris. Young people stoned a Jewish school bus, set fire to two buses in Paris. A group of bandits armed with iron sticks attacked a Jewish football team. Authorities of Belgium have declared the attack on a synagogue in the region Brussels-Anderlecht was caused by an outburst of tension in the Near East. The city mayor Jacques Simonet announced, "We witness the atmosphere of animosity as a result of the Palestinian - Israeli conflict which has transposed into a most uneasy region of our capital".
Anti-Semites wrote on the walls of a synagogue in the German town of Herford, "Six Million is not enough". This is a sinister reminder about Holocaust, as 6 million Jews were killed by Nazis during World War II.
The war failed to get over anti-Jewish moods. Public opinion poll conducted less than a year ago showed 24 per cent of Austrians would prefer to live in a Jews-free country. According to the BBC pool conducted in an allegedly neutral Switzerland, 16 percent of citizens are convinced anti-Semites whereas 60 per cent keep up certain anti-Semitic prejudices.
Jewish leaders of Lithuania have informed about a growth of anti-Semitic moods, which, in their opinion, is due to a likely restitution of property taken away from Jews during WWII. The "France - Press" agency has announced Prime-Minister Algirdas Brazauskas asked the international Jewish community to decide on representatives for open talks with the government on restitution. The extremist party "Union of freedom" accused the government of "groveling before Jews", and the next day a group of rascals tore apart the flag of Israel.
Meanwhile, in France 70 people were interrogated and 16 arrested ensuing attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions. French authorities declare the level of violence has considerably increased after acts of terror in New-York and Washington on September 11. For example, last year there were 310 attacks on Jews in Great Britain. 32 anti-Semitic actions have been registered this year. One of them was an assault on a student of theology David Mayers. He was reading a Book of Psalms sitting in a bus. He got 27 knife stabs...
"If to long persist in calling for extermination of Jews, - said Rabbi Saks - this will sooner or later occur, God forbid".
The Washington Post