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The German chancellor condemns a firebomb assault on a Berlin synagogue and vows safety for Jews

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BERLIN — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz strongly condemned a firebomb assault on a synagogue in Berlin on Wednesday, saying, “We are going to by no means settle for when assaults are carried out in opposition to Jewish establishments.”

Assailants threw two Molotov cocktails early Wednesday on the synagogue within the heart of the German capital, police stated, as antisemitic incidents within the nation have been rising following the violent escalation within the Center East.

“Unknown individuals threw two Molotov cocktails from the road,” the Kahal Adass Jisroel group wrote on X, previously Twitter. Dozens of law enforcement officials had been investigating in entrance of the synagogue within the metropolis’s Mitte neighborhood, and the whole road subsequent to the constructing was cordoned off and blocked for visitors.

Police stated they had been investigating “an tried severe arson” during which two individuals approached the synagogue on foot at 3:45 a.m. and threw the firebombs, which burst on the sidewalk subsequent to the constructing. The 2 individuals, their faces coated, ran away.

A few hours later, when police had been already investigating the incident, a 30-year-old man approached the synagogue on a scooter, which he threw apart, and started operating towards the constructing. When law enforcement officials detained him, he resisted and shouted anti-Israeli slogans.

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“We’re all shocked by this terrorist assault,” Germany’s main Jewish group, the Central Council of Jews, stated in a press release. “Above all, the households from the neighborhood across the synagogue are shocked and unsettled. Phrases turn into deeds. Hamas’ ideology of extermination in opposition to every little thing Jewish can be having an impact in Germany.”

The constructing advanced of the Kahal Adass Jisroel group within the heart of Berlin homes a synagogue, a kindergarten, a yeshiva faculty and a group heart.

Police additionally stated there have been riots in a single day between Muslim immigrants and police within the metropolis’s Neukoelln and Kreuzberg neighborhoods and at Berlin’s landmark Brandenburg Gate during which a number of officers had been injured.

Scholz, who was chatting with reporters throughout a visit to Egypt on Wednesday, stated that Germany wouldn’t settle for violent and antisemitic protests and that the safety of Jewish establishments can be additional elevated.

“It outrages me personally what a few of them are shouting and doing, and I’m satisfied that Germany’s residents are of the identical opinion as me,” Scholz stated.

“We stand united for the safety of Jews” in Germany, the chancellor added.

Shlomo Afanasev, a rabbi and long-time member of the Kahal Adass Jisroel group, stated he was shocked by the assault.

“I’m going to the synagogue since 2006, and … I all the time go along with my kippah on,” he advised The Related Press. “We felt till at present very protected right here. And by no means thought one thing like this might occur on this space. In the midst of Berlin.”

Afanasev added that he would put on a baseball hat any further to cowl his skullcap as a result of “I don’t need to be brazenly Jewish … outdoors, as a result of it doesn’t really feel protected anymore. Sadly.”

Germans are significantly delicate concerning assaults on Jews or Jewish homes of worship due to the nation’s Holocaust previous.

Nearly 85 years in the past, on Nov. 9, 1938, the Nazis, amongst them many bizarre Germans, terrorized Jews all through Germany and Austria. They killed at the least 91 individuals and vandalized 7,500 Jewish companies. Additionally they burned greater than 1,400 synagogues, based on Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

The pogroms, which turned referred to as Kristallnacht — the “Night time of Damaged Glass” — preceded the Holocaust during which the Nazis and their henchmen murdered 6 million European Jews.

Following Hamas’ brutal assault on Israel on Oct. 7 and the following conflict in Gaza, police have elevated safety for Jewish establishments in Berlin and throughout Germany. Nonetheless, Israeli flags that had been flown as an indication of solidarity in entrance of metropolis halls all around the nation have been torn down and burnt. A number of constructing in Berlin the place Jews reside had the star of David painted on doorways and partitions.


Related Press video journalist Pietro De Cristofaro contributed to this report.

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