Malmo Jewish Community may need to dissolve itself

Head of Jewish Community in Swedish city says a shutdown of the community is a "possible scenario".

Ben Ariel and JTA,

Malmo, Sweden
Malmo, Sweden
iStock

The Jewish Community of Malmo, Sweden, may need to dissolve itself by 2029 unless its current circumstances change, community spokesman Fredrik Sieradski told JTA on Tuesday.

Sieradski confirmed that the shutdown was a “possible scenario” following a report Friday in Expressen in which a local politician said the Jewish community had said it may “die out” in the coming decade, partly because of alleged indifference by authorities to the community’s security needs.

The debate was about a donation of more than $4 million by two philanthropists to cover security costs. The donation followed the objection of the city government’s ruling coalition, comprising the local chapter of Prime Minister Stefan Lofven’s Swedish Social Democratic Party and the Liberals, to allocate the funds from the municipal budget, Expressen reported.

Malmo’s Jewish community has declined amid frequent threats and attacks, mostly by Muslims, from 1,200 several years ago to an estimated 800 or fewer members today.

The city has seen several anti-Semitic attacks in recent years, including against the local synagogue.

In 2015, a large anti-Israel demonstration in the city featured calls to "slaughter the Jews" and chants praising the stabbing of innocent Israelis.

Last year, the Jewish Community of Umea in northern Sweden dissolved itself primarily over threats by neo-Nazis, but also in connection with harassment by radical Muslims, its former leader, Carinne Sjoberg, has said. It was the first time in decades that any European Jewish community dissolved itself over security concerns.

Malmo may need to follow suit unless “more is done to create change,” Sieradski told JTA.




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