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Rise in Anti-Semitism Prompts German Jewish Leader to Leave for Israel; Urges other Jews to Get Out While They Can

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JERUSALEM, Israel – A German Jewish leader in Brandenburg state is making Aliyah to Israel and has called for his fellow Jews to flee the German nation because of rising anti-Semitism.

Semen Gorelik fled the former Soviet Union when he was young. Now he is calling for a mass exodus from the former Nazi nation that committed the Holocaust. In an interview with CBN News in Jerusalem, prominent Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said he understands why Gorelik would leave.

“It’s not safe for him. He doesn’t like hiding his Jewish identity in public,” Cooper explained. “He’s urging all other Jews to follow him and come to Israel.”

In a public letter on The Axis of Good website, Gorelik announced, “I recommend everyone who professes Judaism to leave this country as soon as possible.”

He wrote of Germany, “With its anti-Jewish foreign and domestic policies, the country has proven that anti-Semitism is an inseparable part of the state political ideology of this country. You can't live in this country as a Jew!   And I don't want to live in this country anymore." 

Acts against Jews are surging by almost a 30 percent increase in the past year, according to Cooper. “The German authorities seem to have no answer, really, for dealing with anti-Semitism on their own soil,” he said. “You see Jews beaten up in the streets of Berlin again.”

Tomas Sandell, founder of the European Coalition for Israel, told CBN News, "As Europeans, we have to be worried and very concerned" about Gorelik's plight. Sandell added, "I'm very sad because I know always when the Jewish population feels that they need to leave Europe, we have troubles ahead of us."

Cooper says many modern Europeans are branding the Jewish nation of Israel as  a place akin to Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. “150 million Europeans believe what the Nazis did to the Jews in the 30’s and 40’s, the Jews are doing to the Palestinians here,” he explained. “That is a monstrous lie.”

The belief that Israelis are the new Nazis is “not just a yellow warning sign, but a red light that says there’s something wrong there, something’s broken,” Cooper warned.

Gorelik wrote, “I don’t want to live in a country where, as a Jew, I have to hide everywhere and at all times. I don’t want to live in a country where half the population sees our Israeli flag as a provocation.”

Cooper gave his perspective on how the situation came into being. “They’ve been fed a steady diet, not just by the German media, but throughout, by European media, this underlying thing that, ‘Yeah, we did a terrible thing back then (during the Nazi era) but now, look at the Jews.’ And so, if you say that Israelis are today’s Nazis, would you get really upset if they were beating some of them up on the streets of the capital of today’s Germany?
Not necessarily,” he said.

The current anti-Semitism isn’t a new problem.  In 2016,Daniel Killy, a prominent spokesman for the Hamburg Jewish community, told the website, “No, we are no longer safe here.”

“Germany has an historical responsibility, now and forever, not to cause harm to the Jewish people,” Cooper said. “They did enough during the Nazi era.”

After World War II, Germany and many of its people condemned for decades what the Nazis did in the Holocaust. Cooper believes that condemnation seems to be slipping away in a very troubling manner.

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About The Author


As a freelance reporter for CBN's Jerusalem bureau and during 27 years as senior correspondent in CBN's Washington bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, government, and God’s providential involvement in our world. Strand began his tenure at CBN News in 1985 as an evening assignment editor in Washington, D.C. After a year, he worked with CBN Radio News for three years, returning to the television newsroom to accept a position as a senior editor in 1990. Strand moved back to the nation's capital in 1995 and then to