The Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (FSCI) has criticised the government of Switzerland for a report which appeared to acknowledge the potential dangers faced by Swiss Jews – before suggesting it was the responsibility of the Jewish community to pay for its own security.
As reported by the Jewish Telegraph Agency, the Swiss government’s report, titled “Report on the measures taken by the federal state to combat antisemitism in Switzerland,” appears to be in conflict with itself.
A passage on “the security of Jewish people and infrastructure” says that the state “has an obligation to take the necessary measures to protect people’s lives and safety and to remove dangers.
“The state has an obligation to guarantee the safety of people, even at the cost of resources.”
However, the document goes on to say: “There is currently nothing in the [Swiss] constitution permitting the participation of the Confederation [the Swiss government] in the cost of security measures taken to protect Jewish institutions. There is, therefore, no basis for a financial commitment by the Confederation.”
The report then goes on to recommend that:
“Jewish organisations could create a foundation to finance their security costs, allocating to member communities significant sums dedicated to financing security measures.”
A subsequent statement released by the FSCI made it clear that the government was proposing “that the Jewish community create a foundation that would support the cost of its own security measures.”
Herbert Winter, President of the FSCI, described this as “unacceptable.”
“Jews of the world are attacked by terrorists because they are Jews - a threat which is also real in Switzerland, as the report finds”, he said.
“As to the idea [suggested in the report] that we should continue to provide our own security – this is the state’s duty.
“The proof is that in most countries which neighbour Switzerland, the costs of security measures are borne largely by the state, which also provides personnel to secure Jewish institutions.”
A number of other European countries provide active funding for the security of their Jewish communities, including Germany and Italy. France has supplied thousands of members of its armed forces to protect Jewish synagogues and schools.
And speaking last week at a UK-Israel conference at Westminster, Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, confirmed that the government would be providing £13.4 million to protect Jewish institutions in the UK. This sum was previously pledged in March of this year by Theresa May - then Home Secretary, now Prime Minister - at the annual dinner of the Community Security Trust.