Austria presents strategy on fighting anti-Semitism

Plan includes improving protection of synagogues, improved education about Judaism and stricter prosecution of hate crimes.

Elad Benari ,

Austria's parliament
Austria's parliament
iStock

The Austrian government on Thursday presented a national strategy on fighting rising anti-Semitism, The Associated Press reports.

The plan includes improving the protection of synagogues, improved education about Judaism and stricter prosecution of hate crimes against Jews.

The country’s Europe Minister, Karoline Edtstadler, stressed Austria's responsibility to fight anti-Semitism regardless of whether it comes from the far right, leftists, immigrants or anybody else.

The new measures intend to battle anti-Semitism in all its forms and wherever it expresses itself — from online chat groups to hate speech in corner bars or expressions of hatred against Jews at public protests such as the current rallies against coronavirus regulations, Edtstadler said.

She added that Austria recorded 550 anti-Semitic incidents in 2019.

This past summer, Elie Rosen, the president of the Jewish community of Graz, Austria, was attacked with a club on the premises of the Graz synagogue. Rosen managed to find refuge in his car and was unhurt.

The attack on Rosen followed two incidents of vandalism at the synagogue in Graz. In one incident, unknown vandals spray-painted anti-Semitic graffiti on the synagogue walls. The graffiti read “Free Palestine” and “our country and our language are red lines."

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who has expressed support for Israel in the past, has also pledged to make "combating anti-Semitism in all its forms" a top priority.



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