Belgium Plans To End Army Protection For Antwerp Synagogues

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FILE - Belgian para-commandos patrol near a synagogue in the center of Antwerp, Belgium, on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Brussels (JTA) – Belgium is planning to stop providing soldiers for security around synagogues in Antwerp.

The plan, which has not been finalized, would end the army’s protection in the city’s Jewish neighborhood in September. The redeployment is connected with budgetary and manpower issues in Belgium, where COVID-19 has severely impacted the economy and killed more than 9,000 people.

“The Jewish community needs more, not less, protection in these difficult times,” the Forum of Jewish Organizations of Flemish Jews wrote in a statement published Monday about the plan.

Belgian troops were first posted to guard Jewish institutions in Antwerp in May 2014 after an Islamist murdered four people in a terrorist shooting at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels, located about 40 miles south of Antwerp.

Antwerp’s center has about 100 Jewish institutions servicing a predominantly haredi Orthodox population of 18,000 people.

In 2018, an unidentified man was filmed stealing mezuzahs from the door frames of 20 Antwerp homes days after a haredi man and his son narrowly escaped being rammed by a passing vehicle that swerved in the direction onto the pavement while they were walking to synagogue on Shabbat. Police said there was no indication the incident was a hate crime.

In 2017, police apprehended and briefly detained a man who allegedly assaulted a haredi man on the street in Antwerp while shouting “Jew.”

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Time to pack and fly over to your pre-bought diras in EY. What are you waiting for ?
    It’s finished in Belgium and you know it well.

  2. Do what we do in America pay for armed guards Take your security in your own hands. So dip into your pockets and pay for it Stop calling everyone an anti Semite
    And demanding freebies

  3. A useless letter , by Jews who are good at letter writing and making useless statements.
    You know you got to get out and fly to our Holy Land. You’re tempting fate, they already started on ritual slaugher and it’s not getting better.
    Get out while you can,

  4. I agree that the Jewish community in Belgium should hire armed guards, and post them at Shuls and other Jewish institutions, as well as in Jewish neighborhoods. We can’t always depend upon the local government to protect us. For example, the NY State Troopers which Cuomo sent into Crown Heights and Williamsburg in January, have all been withdrawn. Incidentally, the problem in Belgium is not primarily coming from the local population. Rather, it is coming from immigrants which the Belgium government permitted to enter its country; those immigrants hate all infidels, and western values, especially Jews.

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