Be discreet, Danish Jews warned

2012-12-12 20:26


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Copenhagen - Israeli and Jewish officials in Denmark on Wednesday warned Jews to avoid openly wearing religious symbols and dress when moving about Copenhagen amid rising anti-Israeli sentiment.

"We advise Israelis who come to Denmark and want to go to the synagogue to wait to don their skull caps until they enter the building and not to wear them in the street, irrespective of whether the areas they are visiting are seen as being safe," Israel's ambassador to Denmark, Arthur Avnon, told AFP.

Avnon added that visitors were also advised not to "speak Hebrew loudly" or demonstrably wear Star of David jewellery.

Denmark's national Jewish Religious Community organisation has also advised its members, and those at the private Jewish school in Copenhagen, to exercise caution.

Caroline Jewish School headmaster Jan Hansen told the daily Jyllands-Posten: "It is not something that we do officially, but if the issue comes up we would say [to our pupils] they should think twice before walking into certain areas of Copenhagen with a skull cap or Star of David."

The warnings come a few weeks after an attack on the Israeli embassy in Copenhagen in the wake of increasing cross-border tensions between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, and Israeli plans to expand settlements.

Some 20 demonstrators lobbed stones and fireworks at the embassy building on 19 November. Graffiti with the word "child-killers" was painted on the embassy entrance wall.

No one was hurt in the incident and one person has since been charged in the attack.

Avnon said that after the attack, a lower-ranking officer from Denmark's foreign ministry had called the embassy offering to pay for some of the damage to the building, but that otherwise official Denmark had not reacted to the incident.

According to figures from the Jewish Belief Centre (Mosaisk Trossamfund), the organisation has received 37 reports of anti-Jewish incidents this year, predominantly in the heavily immigrant Noerrebro neighbourhood and around the Jewish synagogue in central Copenhagen.

Denmark's Jewish community is estimated at between 6 000 and 8 000 people.


Read more on:    denmark  |  israel  |  religion

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