Chief Rabbi Wieder: “Jews in Ireland are concerned about hostility”

Speaking to RTÉ News at Dublin Hebrew Congregation in Terenure, Chief Rabbi of Ireland Yoni Wieder, said Jews around the world have been shocked by those attacks.

“We’ve seen synagogues and Jewish cemeteries desecrated. We’ve seen Jews having been physically, verbally abused” said Chief Rabbi of Ireland Yoni Wieder.

“In Lyon, a Jewish woman who was stabbed twice and a swastika was drawn on her.”

For the community with such strong historical consciousness and collective memory, Rabbi Wieder said that experiencing those incidents in 2023 is “certainly concerning.”

To his knowledge, there’s been no reports of any physical violence in Ireland, but the community is more alert and concerned about a rise in hostility.

“Many members of the community are expressing reservations about expressing their Jewish and Israeli identity in public.

“People don’t want to go out with traditional Jewish head covering or with a star of David around their necks.”

“Jewish students have shared their fears with after experiencing tensions in school. Even if it’s just verbal aggression, just comments here and there – it’s certainly noticeable.”

“They don’t want to be seen as representing the Jewish community. For me that is a big problem.”

Security has been pre-emptively increased at the synagogue and in other communal Jewish institutions across Ireland, with the Rabbi thanking gardaí for their support.

Many in the Jewish community also feel a “strong bias against Israel in the media, Government and broader Irish society,” says Rabbi Wieder. “That expresses itself in the language that’s being used to talk about the conflict: speaking about Israel committing a genocide or taking revenge against the Palestinian people when this is not what is happening at all.”

“We feel tremendous pain and anguish over every Palestinian innocent civilian life that’s been lost. In Israel and amongst the Jewish communities worldwide, these are discussions that we’re constantly having: how do we minimise civilian casualties to the greatest extent possible? But the way it’s portrayed in the media does not reflect that at all.”

Speaking about the large pro-Palestinian rallies around the world, the Rabbi says he respects “the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to speak about the proposed two state solution and their right to self-determination.”

He added calls “for the eradication of the State of Israel are not acceptable.”


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