'Truly terrifying' rise in Jew hate in Spain as thousands attend pro-Palestinian rallies

'We’re scared, particularly for our sons and daughters' says a resident in Barcelona as antisemitism spreads in cities across the country


Protestors hold a Palestinian flag during a rally in support of Palestinians in Barcelona on October 18, 2023. Tensions sparked across Europe from the war between Israel and Hamas. More than 1,400 people were killed in Israel, mostly civilians, from Hamas's attack launched on October 7. Retaliatory airstrikes from Israel have killed more than 3,000 people in the Gaza Strip, mostly civilians, according to local authorities. (Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP) (Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images)

Police in Madrid have stepped up their presence outside synagogues and other centres of Jewish life, seeking to protect the estimated 12,000-15,000 Jews living in the capital, after an increase in antisemitism across Spain.

A synagogue in Barcelona cancelled weeks of upcoming events. “We’re scared, particularly for our sons and daughters,” a Jewish resident of Barcelona told El Periodico. “Antisemitism is in the air.”

Maxo Benalal, secretary general of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain (FCJE), said the rise in antisemitism across Spain was “truly terrifying”.

“Free Palestine” was sprayed across a mediaeval Jewish neighbourhood in Catalonia.

Pro-Palestinian protests took place in Madrid, Barcelona and Pamplona. In Madrid, 10,000 people took part, with leaders of left-wing parties Podemos and Más in attendance.

They demanded the Spanish government “stop showing complicity” with Israel.
Spain confirmed the murder by Hamas of Maya Villalobi Sinvany, a 19-year-old Spanish-Israeli citizen.

Spanish-Israeli citizens have vowed to return home to enlist in the army, after seeing the “barbaric attacks” in Israel.

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