Germany pledges extra €22m for Jewish security

The German Federal government has pledged an additional 22 million Euros to the country’s Jewish umbrella organisation this year to cover security costs.

The announcement comes nearly a year after a violent attack on the synagogue in Halle, on Yom Kippur, which left two passersby dead. The alleged perpetrator, who attempted to enter the synagogue with a gun but was blocked, is currently on trial in Magdeburg.

The attack “has drastically shown us that Jewish life needs massive protection,” Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, the country’s EJC affiliate, said in a statement, after the security funding agreement was signed with the German government.

The funds are to be used for drastic improvements to the physical security of synagogues and other communal buildings, according to the joint statement by the Central Council and the federal Ministry of the Interior.

“Jews must be able feel safe living in Germany – it is also in the interest of the state,” said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who pledged to “do everything possible to provide the necessary protection. We understand our responsibility.”

The government already gives the Central Council 13 million euros per year to cover administrative and infrastructure costs for some 80 communities nationwide. The contract was signed originally in 2003, putting the Jewish umbrella body on a legal par with the Protestant and Catholic churches, which each have contracts with the federal government.

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