Germany faces ‘unacceptable’ ban on Jews

Germany has launched an emergency ban on all Jews from entering the country following a spate of hate crimes in which some Jewish groups have been targeted.

The government on Friday said it would ban “every Jew who is in Germany, wherever they live, whether they are citizens or not, and who has an identity card,” including those who are married or have children.

Germany’s state-run broadcaster, ARD, cited the authorities as saying it would restrict Jews who are “in the country legally” and who are not “present in a group”.

The measure was prompted by reports of a wave of attacks on Jewish targets in Germany and Austria, including in Munich and Cologne, in which the assailants shouted “Allahu Akbar”, or “God is great”.

Police have been cracking down on anti-Semitic violence in Germany in recent years, arresting more than 1,500 suspects, including the perpetrator of last year’s deadly attack on a Jewish supermarket in the German city of Wuppertal, in the city’s main shopping district.

On Thursday, more than 300 people were arrested in the eastern city of Hesse for alleged involvement in a campaign of violence targeting Jews, according to police.

“Today we are taking steps that will prevent the spread of hate,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said in a statement.

“We are also taking measures to ensure the security of our Jewish communities.”

The move comes amid heightened tension between German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats and their nationalist, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which is currently in power in the Bundestag.