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Jewish community in Zurich fears terror attack

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Jewish community in Zurich fears terror attack
Fear has risen among the Jewish community in Zurich Photo: Thomas Leuthard
10:56 CET+01:00
The Jewish community in Zurich is “seriously worried” about the possibility of a terrorist attack after the shootings in Paris and Copenhagen, senior members of the community say.

Speaking to the 20 Minuten newspaper, Berhard Korolnik, board member of Jewish group IRGZ, said that fear is noticeable among members of the Jewish community in the city.

Susi Saitowitz, Secretary General of the Liberal Jewish Congregation (JLG) agreed.

“The worry and fear are palpable,” she told the paper, adding that it wasn’t out of the question that Zurich could be the object of a future attack as Jews have often been targets in the country.

“That’s why our community has always been in contact with the police,” she said.

Security measures have been stepped up by many Jewish organizations, including the Jewish Cultural Centre of Zurich (ICZ).

“Many Jewish citizens have become more cautious, out of fear of an attack,” said ICZ Secretary General Frédéric Weil.

“We try to keep our members and institutions as protected as possible,” he added.

“Our vigilance has clearly increased.”  

Despite the fear, Orthodox Jews in the city are continuing to respect their traditions, he added, such as the wearing of particular clothing in public.

However Weil acknowledged that wearing the distinctive kippah in public has become difficult.

“If I am out jogging in Zurich wearing the kippah and I pass a group of young men, I feel a wariness that I haven’t previously felt.”

The subject of emigration to Israel has returned to discussions among the community, he added.

The head of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG) Jonathan Kreutner called for the authorities to respond.

“It is important that the safety of Jews is ensured,” he told 20 Minuten.

Judith Hödl, a spokesperson for Zurich municipal police, said the force was constantly assessing the situation and would take specific action if required.

On Monday, thousands of people took part in torch-lit vigils around Denmark following the February 14th attacks on a Copenhagen synagogue and a free speech event resulting in the deaths of two people.

The Danish attack came just a month after a gunman killed four people at a Kosher supermarket in Paris.

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