• Tzvi Bromberg ('22)

Yom Kippur Terrorist Attack Foiled

Yom Kippur began like any other year in the German city of Hagen, roughly 260 miles west of Berlin. That was, until heavily armed German police swarmed the city. The reason: an attempted terrorist attack had just been foiled. According to German State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Herbert Reul, German police received “a very specific and serious tipoff that an attack on the synagogue could take place during the Yom Kippur festival,” and in that tipoff, “a specific time, place and perpetrator were named,” reportedly by a foreign intelligence service.

German authorities announced the arrests of four individuals, including a sixteen year old Syrian immigrant. The attack was described by Reul as “an Islamist-motivated threat situation” in which the plan was to use explosives to attack the synagogue on Yom Kippur. This comes only two years after the attempted attack on a synagogue in the German city of Halle on Yom Kippur. After much outcry from the Jewish community on the German police’s failure to properly protect them, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer responded "This time, the security authorities were quicker. We are doing everything humanly possible to protect our people. Never again must Jews live in fear in our country. There is no place for anti-Semites in our society."

The attacks come at a time when levels of antisemitism have been skyrocketing across Europe, a fact in part due to the relatively small size of its Jewish community. With elections being held in Germany to replace long-standing Prime Minister Angela Merkel, many issues pertaining to the Jewish community have been ignored due to the fact that the Jewish population of Germany isn’t large enough to form a major voting bloc.

The European Union has made some recent efforts to curb anti-Semitic crimes, although there remains minimal evidence to suggest that its current efforts have done much protect the Jewish population of Europe. Leaders across Europe have spoken out against this particular issue. In 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron called it a “resurgence of antisemitism unseen since World War II”; within only year of this statement, antisemitic acts increased by 27% in France alone according to the Associated Press. This general trend appears to be present in many European states, and without swift and proper action, it will continue to remain a major issue plaguing the Jewish community in the years that follow.

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