The construction department of the St. Gallen canton in Switzerland dismissed a managerial construction employee because he sent the Israeli Embassy an email in which he expressed joy over the death of Jews in a terrorist attack.
Following the July 2012 terror attack on Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria, Maurus Candrian, 54, sent an email to the Israeli Embassy in Bern saying "That is a good day in my life. I am proud of the heroes who killed Jews."
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The attack in Burgas killed five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver. In the email, sent July 19, Candrian also wrote that the State of Israel "does not have a right to exist because Israel is a terrorist state."
The Israeli embassy filed an official complaint with the Swiss Foreign Ministry and asked that the matter be handled immediately. Candrian was recently convicted of "racial discrimination" and sentenced to a fine. He was also handed a suspended 90-day prison sentence.
Candrian, a former co-president of the Green Liberal Party, told reporters following the ruling that he did not regret sending the email, but claimed he was "not an anti-Semite."
A few days ago the Israeli embassy received a surprising letter from Candrian in which he apologized for his comments. The clerk reiterated that he was not anti-Semitic and was in fact a supporter of the State of Israel but merely wanted to criticize its government.
Tzachi Sarid, an advisor at the embassy in Bern, estimated that Candrian sent the letter of apology due to the bad publicity he received. "All in all, the Swiss authorities operated very well as far as we are concerned," he said.
A joint report published by the umbrella organization of Jewish communities in Switzerland and an independent organization fighting anti-Semitism and racism said more than 20 similar incidents are recorded in the country each year.
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