Jewish lawmaker in Antwerp calls on government to fund security


(JTA) — In the wake of the stabbing of an Orthodox Jew in Antwerp, a Flemish Jewish politician demanded the government cover the community’s security costs of $1 million a year.

Claude Marinower, Antwerp’s alderman for education, made the demand in an interview that appeared in the Joods Actueel monthly on Thursday – several days after Yehosha Malik, 31, was stabbed in the neck by an unknown assailant while he was walking to synagogue for prayer services.

“Jewish families should not have to cover these costs,” Marinower said. “It is the government’s job to make sure its citizens can live in safety.”

According to the monthly, Jewish families pay $100 a month per every child they send to a Jewish public school so that the school may pay for the extra security measures deemed necessary by the community’s security officials.

Education is supposed to be provided free in Belgium – a federal entity that is made up of the Flemish region, whose capital is Antwerp; a French-speaking Walloon Region; and the autonomous Brussels region.

Throughout Belgium and much of Western Europe, Jewish communities are regularly targeted by Islamists and Arabs seeking revenge for Israel’s actions and, less frequently, by anti-Semites from the far right.

Marinower said Belgium is lagging other Western European countries that have stepped up to shoulder security costs for Jewish communities. He noted Germany, Denmark and neighboring Netherlands.

Authorities in Antwerp beefed up security around the city’s heavily Jewish neighborhoods following the murder in May of four people at Brussels’ Jewish Museum of Belgium, Joods Actueel noted, including  installing video cameras and increasing patrols.

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