Kirkko ja kaupunki: Security costs at the Helsinki Synagogue soar

by , under Enrique Tessieri

It should not surprise us that anti-Semitism is also on the rise in Finland. An article in Kirkko ja kaupunki revealed the cost of security needed at the Helsinki Synagogue has soared between 2017 and 2021. Yaron Nadbornik, president of the 1,100-strong Jewish community of Helsinki, was quoted as saying that the cost of security at the synagogue has jumped from 200,000 euros in 2017 to 450,000 euros in 2021.

Personal donation targets have also risen sharply, from 15,000 euros to 50,000 euros.

He said: “The purpose of our community is not to maintain security, but to maintain Jewish life in Finland and especially in Helsinki. In the past, it was not known precisely how much money was spent on security because it was not a meaningful metric that we followed closely.”

Read the full story (in Finnish) here.

Nadbornik added that the accounting system to monitor security was changed three years ago giving a more precise view of such costs.

In an interview last year, the president of the Jewish community of Helsinki said that only recently the police have acknowledged that there is an anti-Semitism problem in Finland.

“The authorities have recognized during 2018-2019 that there is an anti-Semitism problem in Finland,” he said. “Before, it was [for them] pretty unclear if such a matter existed.”

In 2017, Nadbornik blamed the government and police of Finland for not doing enough to clamp down on hate speech, which was directly linked to anti-Semitism.

In the interview with Kirkko ja kaupunki, he stated that the police understand the threat of physical harm, but if somebody paints a Nazi symbol on the synagogue’s wall it is not treat it as a hate crime.

In many parts of the world, racist graffiti is considered a hate crime.

We recommend that the Jewish Community of Helsinki ask the police why they don’t treat racist graffiti like a swastika a hate crime.