Rabbi Assaulted in Berlin Calls on German Authorities to Deport Antisemitic Refugees
A Berlin rabbi targeted with his 13-year-old son in an antisemitic attack in September has called on the German government to deport refugees who engage in anti-Jewish rhetoric and actions.
“The authorities should have every refugee who comes to Germany sign a commitment,” Ukrainian-born Rabbi Ariel Kirzon told the Focus news outlet. “This should state that antisemitic acts are severely punished and can lead to expulsion from Germany.”
The rabbi of the Jewish community in Potsdam, a city bordering the German capital, the 43-year-old Kirzon was assaulted on Sept. 12 as he traveled to a doctor’s appointment with his son. Kirzon had been standing on the sidewalk in front of a subway station speaking on the phone in Hebrew when a man walked towards him, purposely bumped into his shoulder and shouted “you filthy Jew!” in his face.
“I was clearly recognizable as a Jew when suddenly an Arab-looking man insulted and attacked me,” Kirzon said after the incident. “He shouted and raised his hands, grabbed me, as if to hit me.” The rabbi subsequently filed a criminal complaint for bodily harm and insult with the Berlin police authorities.
Kirzon argued that the German public should not be obliged to fund custodial sentences for offenders who come from abroad. “If someone nevertheless attracts attention with antisemitic statements or actions, then he should not go to prison at the expense of us taxpayers. He should have to leave Germany,” he asserted.
Antisemitic incidents have soared in Germany in recent years. According to data released by the German interior ministry in February, there was a 30 percent increase in antisemitic crime in 2021, with more than 3,000 incidents reported. The police registered 63 violent assaults in 2021 — six more than in 2020. Nearly half of the incidents (1,306) occurred in the second quarter of last year, during the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip that witnessed antisemitic violence accompanying “Free Palestine” demonstrations around the world. As well as far-right groups, members of Germany’s Muslim communities, many of whom are recent arrivals from Syria and other nations in the Islamic world, are disproportionately represented among offenders.
Meanwhile, Berlin police have made little progress in apprehending Kirzon’s assailant. “In the proceedings against unknown persons, the investigations are ongoing, especially to identify the suspect,” a police spokeswoman told Focus.