The Belgian government announced that it will remove military security from Jewish institutions across the country.
The move comes amidst rising antisemitism across the country, especially following the coronavirus and Israel’s conflict with Gaza last month. The government provided no alternative plan to protect the institutions, such as placing responsibility for security on the Belgian police.
Troops began protecting Belgian cities in 2015 after the terrorist attacks at the Charlie Hebdo offices and a kosher supermarket. In 2020, the new Belgian government came to power on a campaign platform of a “gradual withdrawal” of the military from urban centers.
However, members of the Jewish community in Belgium expressed fears over the decreased protection.
In a joint statement with the Forum of Jewish Organizations in Antwerp, CCOJB, the country’s EJC affiliate said “The CCOJB and the FJO are concerned about the intention of the Federal Government to stop the mission of military personnel with regard to the protection of civilians and Jewish institutions as of September, while no equivalent solution has yet been proposed to guarantee the security of citizens attending Jewish events or institutions in our country.”
Regina Slozny, president of the FJO stressed that “the decision of the Belgian government increases the threats and strengthens the feeling of insecurity among the Jewish population in Belgium.”