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Wiesenthal Center: Sweden Should Pay Jews' Security Expenses

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has called on Sweden to foot the bill for security measures to protect local Jews from anti-Semites.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 3/23/2011, 12:54 PM / Last Update: 3/23/2011, 1:00 PM

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has called on Sweden to foot the bill for security measures to protect local Jews from anti-Semites.

The 800-strong Jewish community in Malmo, Sweden's third-largest city, has up to now had to pay for anti-attack barriers installed during religious celebrations at the city's synagogue.

Some 400 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded in Malmo in 2009, totaling more than half of the hate crimes in the city.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the Center, told AFP last week “It is long overdue that the Swedish authorities assume the costs of the security of the Jewish institutions.”

He added there had been numerous attacks on the Muslim and Roma populations in Malmo as well.

“In a country that rescued the Jews coming from Denmark during World War II, how come a rabbi can (no longer) go to the synagogue with his two children?” Cooper asked pointedly.

The Wiesenthal Center issued a travel advisory in December warning Jews against going to Malmo following the first-ever suicide bombing in Stockholm. Cooper said the travel alert is likely to remain if the status quo does not change.

Mayor Ilmar Reepalu, who has previously likened Zionism to anti-Semitism -- told reporters that a meeting he had with Cooper was “very good, direct and open.” He told the TT news agency, “Every single Jew who feels fearful and afraid is one too many,” adding that he hoped the national government would allocate funds to address the problem.

Cooper told the Sydsvenskan newspaper, “We have a lot of work ahead of us.”