Malmo Synagogue Rocked by Explosion

Published: July 27th 2010
in News » World

Malmo Synagogue
Pic: WikiMedia Commons

The Jews of Malmö do not only place the blame squarely on the shoulders of extremist Muslims and other racists who subscribe to a neo-Nazi ideology. They also have harsh words for the city’s left wing mayor of 15 years, social democrat Ilmar Reepalu.


Reepalu has been criticized for failing to adequately protect his city’s Jewish population while excusing previous attacks as “anti-Israel attacks, connected to the war in Gaza.” He has also been quoted claiming that what Jews experience as anti-Semitism is just the net effect of Israel’s actions.


Reepalu told the Sunday Telegraph that “There haven’t been any attacks on Jewish people, and if Jews from the city want to move to Israel that is not a matter for Malmö.” While he claimed he was simply reiterating police reports and later met with members of the community to hear their concerns, he nonetheless stated that if Jews wanted to leave Sweden for Israel, it was more a matter for the country as a whole to look at, not specifically his city.


In 2009, hate crimes in Malmö doubled to 79, with the majority directed at Jews. Many more hate crimes likely went unreported.


“Many (Jews) feel the community and local politicians have shown a lack of understanding for how the city’s Jewish residents have been marginalized,” community member Fredrik Sieradzki stated in The Local, an English-language Swedish news publication.  


He described the situation the Jews of Malmö face as a “downward spiral.”


“People want to maintain their Jewish traditions, but when they see others leave after being threatened, they begin to question whether or not they want to stay here.”


Raffi Zender, who made Aliyah from Malmö, told Haartez that “in Malmö, it is not a good idea to walk with a skull cap or wear a Star of David in the street.” He said that the riots that took place on several occasions – including at a pro-peace rally organized by the city’s Jews during the run-up to the Gaza war and a violent confrontation outside a Malmö tennis stadium where Israel was supposed to play Sweden in a Davis Cup match – were important factors that pushed he and his friends to leave.


While many Jews  sought refuge in Sweden after World War II and have felt safe there until recently, the situation in Malmö has led the country’s Jewish community, roughly 18,000, to being to re-evaluate whether that situation of security was only temporary.


“I thought ‘this couldn’t happen in Sweden.’ Now I know otherwise,” Ulla-Lena Cavling, a 72-year old retired teacher told the Telegraph.

Related articles: (synagogue explosion, malmo, sweden)
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