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Swiss Jews feel increasingly threatened

Discrimination and fear are part of everyday life for many Jewish people in Switzerland. This is shown by a nationwide survey conducted by the ZHAW.

At the beginning of 2020, the ZHAW School of Social Work conducted a nationwide survey to investigate for the first time how Jewish people experience and perceive antisemitism in this country. The study, which 487 people took part in, was carried out in cooperation with the GRA Foundation against Racism and Anti-Semitism. About half of the respondents said that they had experienced antisemitic harassment within the last five years. Almost three quarters of those surveyed consider antisemitism to be a growing problem. “This clearly shows that antisemitism exists in Switzerland and that it shapes the everyday lives of Jewish people living here,” says study director and head of the ZHAW Institute of Delinquency and Crime Prevention Dirk Baier.

Dwindling sense of security

These experiences have an impact on the Jewish population’s sense of security. Almost every third respondent avoids Jewish events in their hometown at least sometimes because they do not feel safe on their way there. Only about a third stated that they had contacted the police or other authorities to report offensive comments; physical violence, in contrast, is reported more often to the authorities. A typical type of perpetrator could not be identified. “Based on the findings, it cannot be concluded that only Muslims or people who identify with right-wing ideology engage in antisemitism. This seems to come more from the middle of society,” says Dirk Baier.