German Chancellor Angela Merkel led a rally today to protest the rising anti-Jewish sentiment the country has seen since the recent Israeli attacks on Palestinians in Gaza.
Several European countries, including France, Germany, Italy, and the UK, saw a spike in violence towards local Jews and Jewish-owned businesses.
“That people in Germany are threatened and abused because of their Jewish appearance or their support for Israel is an outrageous scandal that we won’t accept,” Merkel said. “It’s our national and civic duty to fight anti-Semitism.”
“Anyone who hits someone wearing a skullcap is hitting us all,” she continued. “Anyone who damages a Jewish gravestone is disgracing our culture. Anyone who attacks a synagogue is attacking the foundations of our free society.”
Following the mass persecution the Jews were subjected to in Germany in the days of the Third Reich, the Jewish population had seen a steep decline in the European country. Since then, however, the number of Jews has been steadily rising.
“That far more than 100,000 Jews are now living in Germany is something of a miracle,” Merkel said during the rally. “It’s a gift and it fills me with a deepest gratitude.”
“Jewish life is part of our identity and culture,” she continued. “It hurts me when I hear that young Jewish parents are asking if it’s safe to raise their children here or elderly ask if it was right to stay here.”