After allowing more than one million migrants to enter Germany last year, Chancellor Angela Merkel now warns that some asylum seekers have come from countries “where hatred of Israel and anti-Semitism is widespread.”
“We must take care, specifically also in youth [from] countries where hatred of Israel and Jews is widespread,” Merkel said in an interview posted on her government website Saturday, according to translated quotes published in the Times of Israel.
The leader of Germany — with its own notorious history of persecuting Jews — did not name the countries to which she was referring. Many asylum-seekers have come from Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
“We can try to reason [with them] again and again but it should also be clear: [anti-Semitism] has no place in our society … We must simply put clear limits,” Merkel said.
“We have observed in several schools and meeting places [anti-Semitic] events [led] by young people, against which every adult has to act,” she said. “We must also encourage students who think differently.”
Merkel said that warnings previously sounded by a top German Jewish community leader should be taken “seriously.”
Josef Schuster, president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, said in November that many migrants to Germany grew up in cultures “in which hostility toward Israel and anti-Semitism are a common practice.”
“Anti-Semitism is more widespread than we imagined. And that is why we must act intensively against it,” Merkel said.
A top German official last week threatened the Algerian and Moroccan governments that German financial aid would be cut off if North African nations did not take back migrants who cannot qualify for asylum in Germany.
Merkel’s interview was published in advance of her inauguration Monday of an art exhibit on the Holocaust at the German Historical Museum in Berlin.
(H/T: Times of Israel)