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September 20, 2021 2:11 pm
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Jews in Hagen, Germany Look to ‘Fly Flag Against Terror’ in Sukkot Celebrations After Foiled Yom Kippur Plot

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

German police outside the synagogue in Hagen following a tip-off regarding a potential Islamist terror attack on Yom Kippur. Photo: Reuters/Roberto Pfeil/dpa

The Jewish community of the German city of Hagen — which had to call off its Yom Kippur religious services last week over a threatened Islamist attack against its synagogue — is planning to sit in the Sukkah as the Jewish holiday of Sukkot starts Monday evening.

“We would like to thank the many police officers who have stood by us in times of need, who continue to protect us and put up with many additional burdens,” Hagay Feldheim and Rimma Gotlib, chairpeople of the Hagen Jewish community, wrote ahead of the holiday. “It is thanks to them that we can now look forward to the Feast of Tabernacles with confidence.”

A 16-year-old Syrian boy was arrested with three members of his immediate family over an allegedly plotted terror attack against the synagogue in Hagen as Jews marked Yom Kippur, the holiest day in their calendar, on Thursday. Hagen, a city just east of Dusseldorf in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, has a small Jewish community with mainly elderly members, the Jüdische Allgemeine newspaper reported.

“For many, the prospect of being able to celebrate another Yom Kippur this year as usual, albeit still with a mask and socially distanced, has given strength and hope,” according to Feldheim and Gotlib. “This year, for the first time in the history of our community, we couldn’t celebrate together.”

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Going forward, members of the Jewish community in Hagen declared that they would not be intimidated, and seek to take on their coming religious duties to celebrate Sukkot in close coordination with German security forces.

“In doing so, we will also fly our flag against terror and terror plans,” the Hagen Jewish community stated. “We think it is wrong to make the exercise of our fundamental rights and our religion dependent on terrorists or would-be terrorists.”

In solidarity with the Jewish community of Hagen and against antisemitism, various groups have organized a rally in the city on Monday.

“We call on all democratic forces and citizens of this city to jointly set a sign of solidarity against the antisemitic threat posed against our Jewish fellow citizens,” the rally invitation reads.

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