Since the start of the conflict on October 7, the Unia equal opportunities center has received 18 Dutch-speaking reports of anti-Semitism and 11 on the French-speaking side. These are many more reports than usual, Unia director Els Keytsman told Het Laatste Nieuws. “We received an average of five reports of anti-Semitism per month.” Unia also opened 3 Dutch-language files itself and one French-language one. Keytsman: “When we read the report of physical aggression against a Jewish couple at Ypres station in the media, we immediately took action.”
The Shmira, a Jewish internal organization of volunteers who are responsible for the safety of the Jewish community in Antwerp, has also seen a significant increase in the number of reports. They have received 231 reports since the start of the conflict. “100 reports are verbal aggression,” the organization told Het Laatste Nieuws. “126 are so-called ‘provocative behavior’. For example, someone who shouts ‘Free Palestine’ in the faces of Jews. Five reports are physical. A Jewish child was pushed from his bicycle and fell, a man was kicked in the stomach, another was punched in the face for no reason.” Before the conflict, the Shmira received about fifty reports every month. “So a fivefold increase.”
In the meantime, Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever has again advocated deploying the army to guard the Jewish quarter. The federal government does not want to know about that for the time being.