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January 4, 2021 1:38 pm

Austrian Government Launches Action Plan to Counter Rising Antisemitism

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Austria’s Europe Minister Karoline Edtstadler alongside Elie Rosen, head of the Jewish community in Graz. Photo: Screenshot.

The Austrian government announced on Monday that its action plan to combat rising antisemitism would be rolled out in the coming weeks, with an emphasis on enhancing security measures for the Jewish community.

In an interview with the German news outlet Die Welt,  Karoline Edstadtler  — who serves as Minister for Europe and commissioner for countering antisemitism — noted with alarm that the number of hateful incidents targeting Jews had more than doubled since 2014.

In 2019 — the most recent year for which statistics are available — there were 550 attacks on Jews in Austria, she said.

About 15,000 Jews presently live in Austria, mainly in the capital, Vienna. Smaller communities are located in other cities, including Salzburg, Graz and Innsbruck.

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Edstatler confirmed that the Austrian government would fund the Jewish community with an annual sum of 4 million euros. “With this we want to secure the communities financially, promote Jewish life in Austria and improve the protection of the communities,” she said.

Edstatler also called for swifter action against antisemitic propaganda online and more accurate recording of crimes targeting Jews. “Many Jews do not report attacks — either out of shame or because they have resigned themselves,” she said.

In the same interview, Edstatler urged the EU to adopt “stricter measures” in the “fight against political Islam.” She argued for the creation of a Europe-wide directory of imams, saying: “Most imams travel through many EU countries, so the security authorities have to know who is preaching what in which mosque.”

On the question of foreign funding of mosques and other Islamic associations in Europe, Edstatler encouraged the EU to follow Austria’s example by banning it entirely. She also pledged that “in future, funds from the new EU budget will be so strictly controlled that they will not go to organizations and associations that represent Islamist and antisemitic positions.”

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