Why this story matters:
In the German capital, antisemitic attacks have been on the rise over the last years -- worrying the 25,000 Jews who live in the city.
The latest attack took place during the day, in the fashionable district of Prenzlauer Berg, when a 19-year-old Syrian hit a 21-year-old Israeli with a belt.
On April 25, thousands of Berliners showed their solidarity with a "Berlin Wears a Kippa" march. MPs from both sides of the spectrum have shown up, including the far-right AfD party. Some Muslim communities have also publicly denounced the attack, which was seemingly triggered by the anti-Israeli sentiments of the attacker. The police found pictures of the Palestinian flag on the social media profile of the attacker.
This outpour of solidarity feels like great news in the midst of growing nationalist sentiments in Europe. The fact that even the far-right expressed its support gives hope for dialogue between Germany's old and new political parties.
Details from the story:
- The attack happened on April 18, when an Israeli student (who does not identify as Jewish) decided to take a walk around Prenzlauer Berg with a friend while wearing a kippa.
- The walk was supposed to be an experiment: he wanted to see how a man in a kippa would be treated in modern Berlin.
- The attacker -- a 19-year old Syrian refugee according to police reports -- ran at him screaming "Jew!" in Arabic and brandishing a belt.
- The attack was quickly stopped by eyewitnesses, but the perpetrator managed to run away. He later went to the police with his lawyer and is still under investigation.
- Local Islam experts agree that the antisemitism is growing among the newest Muslim immigrants in Germany.
- According to experts, the majority of hate crimes against Jews are still committed by neo-Nazis.