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Governments in Europe Bolster Security Amid Rise in Antisemitism Online

Governments across Europe said they had bolstered security as Jewish groups warned that the surprise attacks by Hamas had led to a rise in antisemitic rhetoric online.

In France, the interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, called on regional officials across the country to urgently put in place heightened security at synagogues and Jewish schools.

“At a time when terrorist attacks from Gaza are hitting Israel, I ask you to immediately step up vigilance, security and protection of Jewish community sites in France,” he wrote in a message seen by AFP.

Darmanin also called for the soldiers from France’s Opération Sentinelle, a special force that patrols streets and protects key sites, to be deployed in order to create a “visible and systematic” security presence.

The surprise attacks had left many in France’s Jewish community reeling, said Samuel Lejoyeux of the Union of Jewish Students of France. “We woke up with a sense of dread,” he told Le Figaro newspaper. “We were reminded of a fragility we had forgotten. It’s a feeling similar to what we felt at the time of 11 September or the Bataclan [attacks].”

His concerns were echoed by the Council of French Jewish Institutions. “We were very shocked and worried by this outburst of violence,” Pierre Haas of the council told AFP.

The council, he added, was also wary about the “possibility of the conflict being imported to France”.

In Germany, the police in Berlin said on social media they had filed complaints after being alerted to “people celebrating the attacks on Israel by handing out baked goods” along a main avenue.

Soon after, the country’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, said in a statement that the government would “not accept it when the heinous attacks against Israel are celebrated here on our streets”.

The Central Council of Jews in Germany said they were in close contact with authorities and that police measures were being increased at Jewish institutions across the country.

In London, the Metropolitan police said they had increased patrols across parts of the city amid a “number of incidents, including those that have been shared on social media, in relation to the ongoing conflict in Israel and [at] the border with Gaza”.

They said the expanded patrols were aimed at providing “a visible presence and reassurance to our communities”.

Police sources in Spain told newspaper La Razón that the interior ministry had put in place “necessary measures” to protect the country’s Jewish community. In Italy, the ministry of the interior said it had ordered surveillance to be increased across the country, according to newspaper Corriere della Sera.

The heightened security came as the Anti-Defamation League said it had seen a rise in calls for violence against Jewish people, Israelis and Zionists after the attacks by Hamas. “Our data show extremists appear to be emboldened by the Hamas attack, and have increased their violent rhetoric, posting hate filled messages and calls for further aggression against Israel and its supporters,” it said on its website.

In recent years, institutions and NGOs have warned that antisemitism is on the rise in Europe and called on authoritiesto do more to halt the trend.

Source : The Guardian