A monthly magazine serving Berlin’s Jewish community will be delivered to subscribers in blank envelopes from now on, in the wake of recent deadly antisemitic attacks acrossEurope, its latest edition announced.
“We decided to do so despite the significant additional costs, to reduce the likelihood of hostility towards our more than 10,000 community members,” spokesman Ilan Kiesling told Berlin’s Tagesspiegel newspaper.
In a foreword to the latest issue, Gideon Joffe, head of the Jewish Community of Berlin, which publishes the magazine, wrote: “Israelis are beaten up in Berlin solely on the grounds that they are Israeli Jews. We are not yet – I repeat yet – at the stage where Jews are being murdered in Germany just because they are Jews. But measures have to be taken to protect the democratic rule of law.”
Joffe also wrote that, in light of recent antisemitic attacks around Europe, the organisation had consulted Berlin’s interior administration and police, taking steps to increase security arrangements.
There have been a handful of antisemitic attacks in Berlin in recent years. Most recently, 26-year-old Israeli Shahak Shapira was assaulted by Muslim youths on New Year’s Day as he tried to film them.
The magazine Jüdisches Berlin, or Jewish Berlin, was first published in 1998, providing information about Berlin’s community as well as articles on issues relating to Jewish life in Germany. It appears ten months of the year, and is partially translated into Russian.
The recent deadly attacks in Copenhagen prompted Angela Merkel to reiterate the importance of Jewish life in Germany, and to call on Jews living there to stay.
In recent months, there have been several reports in the German media about how safe Jewish people in Berlin feel, with some having reportedly stopped wearing the kippah in public.
Berlin police have said there was no rise in antisemitic attacks in the city in 2014, but Jewish schools, community buildings and cemeteries continue to be under round-the-clock police guard.
At the same time, latest migration statistics show there has been an increase in the number of people emigrating from Israel to Germany, up from just over 2,300 in 2011 to more than 2,700 in 2013. The Goethe Institute estimates that there are 20,000 Israelis living in Berlin alone.
According to official government statistics, there are around 200,000 Jewish people currently living in Germany, though this is likely to be an underestimate, since many foreign-born people do not register with authorities.