Tension in Gaza leads to extra measures in Belgium
The Jewish community in Belgium is receiving extra protection.
The Jewish community in Belgium is receiving extra protection due to the escalating tension which is spilling over to Belgium from Gaza. Police presence during demonstrations will also be heightened. This was decided by the new Home Affairs Minister Guido De Padt.
The concrete measures were discussed at a meeting at the Home Affairs crisis centre, organised by Minister De Padt. The impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza and consequences for Belgium were discussed and analysed.
In the police zones of Antwerp, Brussels centre, and Ukkel (Uccle, Brussels), an increase in police presence was requested to protect potential Jewish targets in Belgium.
This is on top of extra security that has already been in place for years to protect Jewish homes, shops, schools and synagogues. Security is also tighter around the Israeli embassy in Belgium.
More attacks on Jewish targets
06/01/09 - There was another attempted arson attack on a synagogue in Vorst (Brussels). The Jewish community expressed the hope that the conflict in the Middle East would not spill over into Belgium.
Since the recent demonstrations especially it has been noted that some people are bent on violence and causing physical damage.
Noteworthy is that in Antwerp mainly minors have been involved in the skirmishes. Of the 95 administrative arrests, 65 were juveniles. Further legal sanctions have not been ruled out.
Minister De Padt urges restraint
De Padt is urging calm and restraint. He regrets the vandalism of property belonging to members of the Jewish community, Muslims and other immigrants.
He is urging all parties involved to show restraint and respect for each other. The Minister will be holding meetings with the mayors of Antwerp, Brussels and Ukkel.