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Exceptional case Swiss canton assumes security costs for Jewish institutions

A policeman stands in front of a police car of the cantonal police Basel City

The armed security personnel will need to master the Hebrew language and be familiar with Jewish traditions.

(Keystone)

On Wednesday, the north-western Swiss canton of Basel City decided to employ eight armed security guards, whose specific duty will be to protect Jewish institutions in the region.

The fact that the canton has decided to assume the security costs of private organisations, in an attempt to fight anti-Semitism, is “an exception”, according to the Swiss News Agency.

The Basel City cantonal parliament unanimously approved the annual expenditure of CHF756,000 ($757,000) from 2019.

The decision follows several motions aimed at providing financial relief for the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (FSCI) and other Jewish institutions, which have seen a permanent increase in security costs.

Cantonal police already have some 20 armed security guards and other personnel responsible for “special missions”. The eight reinforcements will be charged specifically with the protection of Jewish institutions. These individuals will have to learn Hebrew and Jewish traditions.

According to a reportexternal link published earlier this year by the FSCI and the Foundation against Racism and Anti-Semitism, the number of reported anti-Semitic incidents in German-speaking Switzerland rose by more than a third in 2017, reaching 39 cases. Three of those involved physical attacks, including one assault on a Rabbi.

Keystone-SDA/swissinfo.ch/cl

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