German Chancellor Angela Merkel heads the weekly Cabinet meeting of the German government at the Berlin office on Wednesday, April 1
BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel sharply condemned Wednesday a street attack in Berlin on two young men with Jewish skull caps who fueled the debate over anti-Semitism in the country. 19659008] A video of the Tuesday attack that whipped one of the victims with a belt quickly became viral.
Merkel described the attack in the scene district of Prenzlauer Berg as a "very terrible incident" and vowed that the government would react "with full force" violence and determination "against growing anti-Semitism in Germany.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted:" Jews should never feel threatened here again. "
" It is our responsibility to protect Jewish life here, "he wrote about the killing of six million European Jews by Germany under the Nazis in the Holocaust more than 70 years ago
The Berlin police said the two Victims were 21 and 24 years old, but they did not identify 9013] Israeli broadcaster Kan published an interview with the 21-year-old slightly injured by the belt and identified him as Israeli Adam Armoush
The video shows not the outbreak of the fight or how it started, but Armoush said he was leaving his house in Berlin when the three people started cursing her.
"They cursed us again and again, and my friend asked them to come with them Stop cursing, "Armoush said to Kan TV." They started to get angry, and one of them ran to me and I knew it was important to film him, since there was not one until the police arrived
The police said they are still looking for the assailants
Two Jewish organizations published the video showing a young man attacking the victim while saying, "Yahudi! "Or" Jew "in Arabic screamed.
The head of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, Aiman Mazyek, demanded punishment for the perpetrators, chanting: "It makes me angry to see such violence full of hate."
"There is unfortunately anti-Semitism among German citizens and also anti-Semitism from the Arabic-speaking world and the government is doing everything (against it)," Merkel told reporters.
Police said after the belt attack, the suspect's two companions took him away. Armoush followed them. The attacker then took a glass bottle as if to beat it again, but a witness intervened.
Armoush then raised his shirt on the video and showed bruises on his belt. He did not respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.
Even the mayor of Berlin Michael Mueller condemned the attack
"I condemn this renewed anti-Semitic attack in the harshest words," said Müller. "Anti-Semitism is not part of the Berlin we want to live in."
However, the RIAS group said Berlin experienced 947 anti-Semitic incidents last year with 18 attacks and 23 threats.
Anti-Semitic incidents have been on the rise throughout Germany. Several Jewish students have reported anti-Semitic bullying cases in schools and burnt Israeli flags during a protest rally in Berlin in recent months.
Last week, a rap band that contained cynical references to the Auschwitz extermination camp of Nazis in its texts won the country's most important music award – strong criticism from other artists and government officials. Several former winners said that they would return their prizes.
German rappers Kollegah and Farid Bang won an echo award for their new album, including a play entitled "My Body is More Defined as an Auschwitz Inmate." The record company BMG defended the rappers on Wednesday, citing "artistic freedom". The musicians themselves rejected anti-Semitism, but apologized for any offense.
In a separate incident, German auxiliary group GIZ said on Wednesday it had acted against several employees alleged to have published anti-Semitic material on social media. The group, whose biggest customer is the German government, said it dismissed one employee, sent a written warning to another and reprimanded a third.
Last month, GIZ said it had been alerted to employee posts through reports in Israeli media, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories. One showed the Israeli flag with a Nazi swastika under the words, "I hate Israel."
Tanja Gönner, chair of the GIZ management, said the group has "no reason to believe that anti-Semitism is a general problem".
Earlier this month, Germany appointed a diplomat to coordinate government activities against anti-Semitism.
Frank Jordans in Berlin, Joseph Federman and Aron Heller in Jerusalem contributed to reports.
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