In general, Germany’s Jews are very well. Since the country’s reunification, their number almost quadrupled to slightly more than 100,000 people. Hebrews enjoy “special” protection: anti-Semitic statements are punished severely in Germany. The Jewish community’s legal and financial conditions are laid out in a treaty between the Central Council of Jews in Germany and the federal government. Newly built or painstakingly renovated synagogues and community centers are guarded by police officers and security personnel. Jewish people partake in German prosperity.
The designated president of the Central Council, Josef Schuster, a physician from Würzburg, will take over a well-ordered legacy.
Israelis have condensed the positive situation of Jewry in Germany into a joke: “How does a smart Jew talk to a dumb one? By phone from Berlin to Jerusalem!” Objectively speaking, the Israelis are right. Compared to the tense situation in Zion – marked by wars, terrorist attacks, high food prices, exorbitant rents, a continuously growing social imbalance and a prime minister whose diplomatic tact evokes memories of German Emperor William II rather than Germany’s former Jewish Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau – the situation in Germany seems idyllic.
Is it surprising therefore that a young Israeli’s Facebook post on cheap chocolate pudding in Berlin and his invitation to immediately emigrate to Germany became a hit in Zion?
Despite these facts, I notice discomfort in talks with other Jews. It exceeds the usual degree of latent fear of the future. The insecurity is not unfounded. Despite continuous education on the Holocaust and the abjection of anti-Semitism, anti-Semitic incidents have been on the rise for a while in Germany. The new supporters of this hostility toward Jews oftentimes are Muslims.
Jews are being denigrated, threatened, abused. Hebrews are insulted as pigs, threatened to be sent into the “gas chamber.” Initially, police have reacted rather helplessly. In Berlin and Frankfurt, rabbis ended up in hospital after brutal beatings. Hinting at the perpetrators’ immigrant background and at similar assaults in other European countries is not helping the situation though.