Swiss Jews Anxious About Increased Anti-semitism in France and Its Possible Development in Switzerla

The bombing of a synagogue in Paris last Friday and the increase of anti-Semitic activities in France over the past few weeks has created a general feeling of anxiety among Jews in Switzerland.

Chief Rabbi Alexander Safran of Geneva told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the Jews are “very worried despite the fact that the Swiss authorities have assured us of all their help and support and despite the fact that we have excellent contacts with the security and police departments.”

However, Chief Rabbi Mordechai Piron of Zurich said he did not believe anti-Semitic actions of the kind that have occurred in Paris will occur in Switzerland because of the existing “social and political constellation. But the event in Paris (the synagogue bombing) should be cause for alarm as well as vigilance among Jews. There must be an immediate reaction to any anti-Semitic act.”

Francois Brunsweig, the president of the Jewish community in Geneva, told the JTA that he had sent a telegram to Alain de Rothschild, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Organizations in France, assuring him of his support. He added that the anti-Semitic acts in Paris could not have taken place if the French government had not been indifferent to the acts when they first began.

Commenting on the situation in Switzerland. Brunsweig said that anti-Semitism is less likely in this country because the Swiss government is openly pro-Israel and because the Swiss have always severely punished any acts of terrorism. He also noted that police here are very alert to anti-Semitic acts and terrorism and always helpful.

Despite official Jewish and government assurances that there is no cause for alarm in Switzerland, many Jewish families are expressing extreme concern when they discuss the issue in private. Others are saying openly that young Jews should arm themselves for self-defense and that money should be raised to help them get arms. Still others say they intend to stay away from synagogues and Jewish gatherings.

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