Suspect arrested in assault on Austrian Jewish leader

Man accused of multiple anti-Semitic crimes in Graz, Austria arrested, following attack on Jewish community leader.


Arrest (illustrative)
Arrest (illustrative)

A man accused of a string of anti-Semitic crimes in Austria's second-largest city has been arrested, police
told local media, after the incidents sparked condemnation from the president.

An attack on a Jewish community leader in Graz and vandalism of the city's synagogue are among the seven infractions the man is being held for, the APA news agency reported Sunday, citing a police spokesman.

The president of the tiny Jewish population in Graz, Elie Rosen, was attacked in the street on Saturday night by a stick-wielding stranger, but was not wounded.

The synagogue was also daubed with a pro-Palestinian slogan last week.

There are only around 150 Jews living in Graz.

President Alexander Van der Bellen condemned the incidents on Twitter "in the strongest possible terms", saying that "anti-Semitism has no place in our society".

Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz also said he was "shocked" by the assault on Rosen.

In 2019, there were around 550 anti-Semitic incidents recorded across Austria.

The Graz synagogue was destroyed by the Nazis in 1938 and rebuilt at the turn of the millennium.