German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday called for "intensive action" against anti-Semitism,urging vigilance particularly regarding young people from countries "where hatred of Israel and anti-Semitism is widespread".
"Anti-Semitism is more pervasive than we imagine and that is why we must act intensively against it," Merkel asserted in her weekly video podcast. She is set to inaugurate an exhibition on "the art of the Holocaust" in Berlin on Monday.
The chancellor called on people to seriously consider the concerns raised late November by the President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, who was worried that many asylum seekers "come from cultures where hatred of Jews and intolerance are deeply ingrained."
Germany welcomed some 1.1 million asylum seekers in 2015, many fleeing war and persecution in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We must be specifically careful with young people who come from countries where hatred of Israel and Jews is widespread," she insisted, without mentioning the names of any countries nor directly referring to asylum seekers.
"We have seen manifestations of anti-Semitism in several schools and meeting places by young people, against which every adult must act," Merkel added. "We must also encourage students who do not think that way and enable them to make it possible for them to clearly say this is not the way it should be," she stressed.
"We can argue about this issue but it should also be clear: (anti-Semitism) has no place in our society (...) we must simply set clear limits," Merkel concluded.