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'We will not hide': Berlin rabbi speaks out after suspected anti-Semitic incident

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'We will not hide': Berlin rabbi speaks out after suspected anti-Semitic incident
Yehuda Teichtal, the rabbi of the Jüdischen Gemeinde zu Berlin (Jewish Community in Berlin). Photo: DPA
17:16 CEST+02:00
Police are investigating after a prominent Berlin rabbi was insulted and spat on in a suspected anti-Semitic attack.

Yehuda Teichtal, a well-known rabbi of the Jüdischen Gemeinde zu Berlin (Jewish Community in Berlin) was with one of his children when he says two men insulted and spat on him in Wilmersdorf, the west of the ctiy. 

The incident took place last Friday near a synagogue where Teichtal had just conducted a service. He said the perpetrators spoke in Arabic. 

In a statement, Teichtal, 47, said "aggression against Jews has developed a life of its own both in the playgrounds and on the streets of Berlin". 

Despite concerns over rising anti-Semitic incidents, Teichtal said he remains “convinced most people in Berlin do not want to accept this aggression against Jews as a sad part of everyday Jewish life”.

He added: “Most Berliners want Jewish people to be able to live with their Judaism openly without being afraid of being insulted, spat at or even beaten. Of course we will not hide now, but continue to build on love, tolerance, dialogue and education.”

READ ALSO: German newspaper Bild prints cut-out kippa to fight anti-Semitism

The Jewish Community in Berlin said the incident demonstrates “the importance of strengthening the fight against anti-Semitism through further practical measures”. 

They said police officers should ensure that Jewish people are able to safely come and go from synagogues, their place of worship. 

Police are investigating a similar attack which took place near Berlin. 

On Saturday, a 25-year-old man wearing a kippa with the star of David on it reported being spat on and hurled with anti-Semitic abuse and threats outside Potsdam station in Brandenburg. 

Germany, like other western countries, is on alert as anti-Semitic and other racist hate speech and violence have increased in recent years while the political climate has grown more polarized.

Anti-Semitic crimes rose by 20 percent in Germany last year, according to Interior Ministry data which blamed nine out of 10 cases on the extreme right.

READ ALSO: Are refugees to blame for a rise of anti-Semitism... or are they being scapegoated?

 
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