Denmark calls in army to defend Jewish sites as Danish Chief Rabbi assualted

It comes after an increase in antisemitic incidents in the country amid the Israel-Hamas war


2T0XJD6 Chief Rabbi Jair Melchior. Solidarity demonstration with Israel "Solidarity with Israel" organized by Jewish Youth, Danish Zionist Federation, KU and DSU at Israels Plads in Copenhagen on Monday 9 October 2023. (Photo: Martin Sylvest/2023)

Denmark will deploy army units to protect Jewish and Israeli sites in Copenhagen following an increase in antisemitism caused by the Israel-Hamas war.

The Denmark Defence Ministry said the war, which started on October 7, was taking a heavy toll on police resources. The Danish police have also been put under pressure by several protests being held at a time when Koran burnings by anti-immigrant or anti-extremist groups have stoked tensions.

Under the plan, soldiers will be stationed at the Israeli embassy in Copenhagen as well as synagogues.

Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard said: “The conflict in the Middle East has led to an absolutely unacceptable increase in antisemitism and insecurity for Jews in Denmark.

“We're in a situation where the terrorist threat hanging over Denmark is serious."

Military support is expected to begin on Wednesday 6 December and will be continuously evaluated, the government said.

The Danish Army had previously assisted the police with guarding premises, but the cooperation was put on hold in early 2022.

The Jewish Society in Denmark said there had been a large increase in reports of hate messages, death threats and vandalism directed at Jews since the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel.

According to the organisation, ​80 reports of antisemitic incidents have been registered in the country since the attack. In comparison, in the period from January 1 this year until the attack by Hamas, only 30 reports were registered.

Since the conflict broke out, Jair Melchior, Denmark’s chief rabbi was assaulted and spat at on his way to a TV interview to discuss Jew hatred last month.

Rabbi Melchior said of the incident: “When we got down to the train, he [a man] spat at me and gave me the finger. These are some things that happen.”

Meanwhile, a Holocaust memorial boulder and amphitheatre in Copenhagen which pays homage to Danish citizens who risked their own lives to save Jews during the Nazi occupation of the country in the Second World War was vandalised.

The boulder was defaced with graffiti whilst the steps of the amphitheatre were defaced with a large Palestinian flag and the words "Free Gaza" last month.

Protesters at a recent anti-Israel march in Copenhagen also chanted: “Palestine is occupied, it must be solved with Jihad.”

Last month, Denmark’s parliament also began debating a bill to ban desecrations of the Koran and other religious symbols after a string of incidents sparked angry protests in Muslim countries.

The Danish government announced the plans for the ban on Koran burnings after warning they could pose a security risk.

According to the independent Utrikespolitiska research institute, Denmark is home to an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 Jews.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive