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Berlin Synagogue Attacked as Anti-Semitic Incidents Surge in Europe

An uptick in anti-Semitic incidents in Europe has recently rattled Berlin’s Jewish community, culminating in a disturbing event where two petrol bombs were thrown at a synagogue. The director of the synagogue, Anna Segal, expressed the growing tensions and feelings of threat within the community.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned the attack, which occurred in the midst of violent protests in Berlin, where emergency services were targeted with projectiles and street barricades were set ablaze. Simultaneously, Lebanon’s Hezbollah called for a “day of rage” following a devastating explosion at a Gaza hospital.

The Central Council of Jews in Germany deemed this call a form of psychological terrorism that often leads to concrete attacks. The recent assault on the Berlin synagogue, which also houses a community center and a school, has heightened the community’s sense of vulnerability, with demands for better protection.

While police presence was reported at the time of the attack, a man was later detained for shouting anti-Israel slogans near the synagogue. Pro-Palestinian demonstrations in France and parts of Germany were banned, with the Paris police dispersing a prohibited rally using tear gas and water cannon. In response to the surge in anti-Semitic incidents, French authorities vowed swift action against perpetrators, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen emphasized the concerning rise in hate speech and vandalism targeting synagogues.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the Community Security Trust (CST) in the UK also condemned the escalation of anti-Semitic acts. The CST particularly urged universities to swiftly combat anti-Semitism and safeguard Jewish students, highlighting 36 recorded incidents on campuses between October 7 and 16.

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