Swiss Jewish group demands action on antisemitism after stabbing

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A leader of Switzerland’s Jewish community demanded “concrete” action Wednesday after the weekend stabbing of an Orthodox Jewish man, allegedly by a teenager pledging allegiance to ISIS.

The 50-year-old Orthodox Jewish man was stabbed and seriously injured in Switzerland’s largest city late Saturday, authorities said.

“The fact that such an event has not caused a national outcry is a real problem, because it brings to light a lack of awareness of how serious the situation is,” said Johanne Gurfinkiel, leader of Intercommunity Coordination Against Anti-Semitism and Defamation (CICAD).

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“We now expect more concrete measures, for example, for the president (of Switzerland) to call an emergency meeting with representatives of the groups concerned to hear their expectations and suggestions,” he was quoted as saying in an interview with daily newspaper Arc Info.

Gurfinkiel judged that the attack was only a matter of time given the negative atmosphere amid the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

He said there had been a “massive” rise in anti-Semitic acts in Switzerland in recent years and that the number had shot up 68 percent in 2023 due to the start of the war.

Gurfinkiel called for investment in “prevention and awareness” in schools and public life, including education about racism and anti-Semitism.

A 15-year-old Swiss boy with a Tunisian background is suspected of carrying out the attack, the youth prosecutor’s office said Monday.

Police said the suspect had made a video, threatening Jews and voicing allegiance to ISIS, according to news agency Keystone-ATS.

Authorities in numerous countries have reported a rise in anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim hate crimes since Hamas militants from Gaza carried out an unprecedented attack inside Israel on October 7.

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That attack resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official figures. Militants abducted 250 hostages, of whom 130 remain in captivity, including 31 presumed dead, according to Israel.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive against the Palestinian territory has killed more than 30,600 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.

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