Amid rising anti-Semitism across Europe, two of Western Europe’s liberal democracies are taking starkly different approaches to combating the new security challenges presented to their respective Jewish communities.
In Britain, the government of Theresa May has pledged to actively support efforts to protect Jewish institutions across the country, providing them with a security budget to help defray the growing costs anti-Semitism have imposed on the community.
Interior Minister Amber Rudd last week promised $17 million towards the protection of Jewish synagogues, schools, kindergartens, and museums.
Her decision, said Rudd, came after a report showing 924 anti-Semitic incidents over the past year, including 86 violent assaults.
“Let me be clear, any attack of that kind is one attack too many. Sadly the Jewish community knows all too well what it’s like to live with the threat from terrorism and hate crime,” Rudd said.
“We take the security of the Jewish community seriously, and we will continue to put in place the strongest possible measures to ensure the safety of this community – and all other communities too.”
The Swiss government, however, appears to be taking a different approach.
A recent report on anti-Semitism in Switzerland notes the growing threat to local Jews and underscores the need for increased protection. Yet the report argues that it is the Jewish community that must be responsible for its own security.
The report suggests that the Jewish community be obligated to levy a special tax in order to refund local authorities for the expenses required for the added police protection.