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Merkel admits: Anti-Semitism is worse than we thought

German Chancellor says anti-Semitism is more widespread in the country than some believe, calls for action.

Ben Ariel,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday admitted that anti-Semitism is "more widespread" in Germany than some believe.

Speaking in her weekly podcast and quoted by Haaretz, Merkel called for action to "deal with [anti-Semitism] - especially among young people… from countries where hatred of Israel and the hatred of Jews is widespread."

Anti-Semitism, she stressed, is more "widespread than we imagine, and that's why we have to make intensive efforts against it." The Chancellor noted the negative effects of anti-Semitic propaganda online and attempts to combat it.

Numbers certainly back Merkel’s claims, as anti-Semitic incidents have been on the rise in Europe in recent years. The phenomenon has not skipped Germany where, during the 2014 war in Gaza, protesters waving Palestinian Authority flags (PA) shouted anti-Semitic slogans at rallies against Israeli military action.

Exclaiming "Allahu Akbar" (God is great), crowds in Berlin have reportedly yelled "Death to Israel" and chanted "Zionists are fascists, killing children and civilians".

In one particularly shocking video, thousands of demonstrators can be heard chanting "Jew, Jew, cowardly pig, come on out and fight on your own".

To top that, a Berlin imam has openly prayed for the annihilation of Zionist Jews, asking Allah to "kill them to the very last one." 

In her podcast on Saturday, Merkel quoted claims made by Josef Schuster, who heads the Central Council of Jews in Germany and said last November that the a large portion of the asylum seekers entering Germany "have grown up in an environment in which hostility towards Israel and anti-Semitism are a common practice."

She echoed the claim, saying, according to Haaretz, "We have to deal with it - especially among young people, with a family background from countries where hatred of Israel and the hatred of Jews is becoming widespread."

She also said a shift was needed in Holocaust education in Germany, instead of focusing on Jewish victimhood "we need show people what the contribution of Jews in Germany… to science, culture and social and economic development."