Swedish police (Archive)
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Sweden earmarks $630,000 to protect its Jews

Following criticism, Swedish government takes steps to protect Jews from anti-Semitism

Sweden has earmarked 4 million kronor ($630,000) to boost security for the country's small Jewish minority.

The move comes after criticism at home and internationally that Sweden needs to do more to protect Jews from anti-Semitic hate crimes.


Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag says if no extra security measures are taken "there is a risk that people don't dare visit synagogues in Sweden."


Sweden saw a surge in reported hate crimes against Jews - including harassment, violence and vandalism - in the wake of Israel's invasion of Gaza in 2009. Many Swedish Jews say they've experienced growing hostility in recent years, especially in the southern city of Malmo, which has a fast-growing Muslim population.


Anti-semitic crimes in Sweden have usually been associated with the far right, but Shneur Kesselman, an Orthodox rabbi, said back in 2010 that the threat comes from Muslims.


"In the past five years I've been here, I think you can count on your hand how many incidents there have be en from the extreme right," he said. "In my personal experience it's 99% Muslims."


Malmo's Jewish community is mostly secular and long felt safe because few display Jewish symbols that would distinguish them from other Swedes.


But things changed after a series of fierce anti-Israel protests and a spike in anti-Semitic hate crimes following Israel's offensive in Gaza, which deeply angered Malmo's Arab immigrants.


Indicating the growing tensions, Malmo authorities, saying they couldn't guarantee security, forced Sweden and Israel to play their Davis Cup tennis matches in a near-empty stadium as police held off rock-throwing anti-Israel activists outside who wanted to stop the competition completely.


פרסום ראשון: 09.05.11, 19:53
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