Historic agreement to secure Jewish life in Austria

The Jewish Community of Vienna (IKG), the country’s EJC affiliate, has reached a historic agreement with the federal government of Austria to safeguard and foster Jewish life in the long term.

The Austrian government will create a new legal initiative for that purpose. The core of this undertaking is the financial support by the federal government for the Jewish Community in the amount of €4 million annually.

The new law will enable the consolidation of the Jewish Community, securing its infrastructure and the services it has to offer. This includes schools, culture, youth, care, social support, public relations, security and many other areas.

“I want to express my thanks to Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Vice- Chancellor Werner Kogler, Minister of the Interior Karl Nehammer and Minister of the Chancellery Karoline Edtstadler. With this historic step the Austrian government is manifesting Jewish life as a natural and inseparable part of Austria,” said IKG President Oskar Deutsch. “My heartfelt thank you also goes to the IKG team and their incredible dedication in the last months and years that have made this agreement a reality. Kol HaKavod!”

“It took several decades until Chancellor Franz Vranitzky led the Austrian republic into an era of honesty”, he added. “It is mainly thanks to outstanding personalities within our community that we as Jews can live our identity with confidence in Austria today. Today it is the Chancellor Kurz and Vice-Chancellor Kogler that are taking an historic step into a new chapter, securing Jewish life in this country in present and future. This is an historical moment.”

“The new law must also be seen as an anchor of the IKG as our unified community in which all forms of Judaism organise themselves democratically. It is a sad but necessary reality that Jewish life is only possible with professional security measures and the commitment of many community volunteers and employees. At the same time, the close cooperation of our security staff and commission with Austrian authorities have made us one of the safest communities in Europe,” Deutsch concluded.

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