A Belgian insurance company has refused to insure a Jewish kindergarten in Brussels on the grounds that "the risk of a terror attack is too high".
A spokesman for the European Jewish Association (EJA), which runs the school, said that several insurance companies had been approached, and that only one expressed such "scandalous" and "cynical" views.
"We are absolutely not speaking about a blanket refusal to insure Jewish institutions or Jewish schools and kindergartens. Still, we think that even one case is shocking enough," said the spokesperson.
The EJA, which oversees Orthodox congregations and institutions across Europe, urged "all European governments and the heads of EU institutions to provide security arrangements for all Jewish institutions that will satisfy insurance companies". It also requested "an alternative insurance mechanism… that would secure any institution that could fall victim to antisemitic attacks".
Insurance companies are allowed to offer different rates depending on their risk assessments. However, in the case of public premises, and especially schools, they are required by law to stay within acceptable limits.
The EJA is concerned that even the presence of police or armed guards around Jewish institutions is not seen by some insurers as a deterrent against potential terrorist attacks. "This is a very dangerous development which impedes the normal functioning of Jewish life throughout Europe," said the spokesperson.
EJA General Director Rabbi Menachem Margolin said: "It is unfortunate to see that insurance companies have acknowledged what many governments across the continent have not as yet - Jewish institutions are primary targets of terrorist attacks and need to be secured accordingly.
"It is truly a scandal. First and foremost, not enough is being done to secure Jewish institutions throughout Europe - despite our repeated requests and warnings - and then insurance companies are using the security situation as an excuse in order not to insurance kindergartens."