An Orthodox Jew was shot dead in Antwerp on Thursday amid concern in Belgium about a rise in anti-Semitism following the stabbing of a Jewish youth in June. The 24-year-old British Jew, Moshe Yitzchak Naeh, who lived in Belgium, was shot in the head after midnight on his way home from a synagogue of which he was sexton.
The heightened tension in Belgium follows the Nov. 2 murder in Amsterdam of outspoken filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who had made a film critical of the treatment of women in Muslim society. His killing triggered a wave of attacks on Muslim schools and mosques and on churches in the Netherlands.
A mosque was attacked in eastern Belgium last week in an apparently related incident. Belgium has a large Muslim immigrant population, largely of Moroccan descent.
Interior Minister Patrick Dewael vowed last week to clamp down on Arabic-language radio stations and Web sites in Belgium that were spreading anti-Semitic and anti-Western propaganda.
No one has been arrested for the June stabbing of a Jewish youth by Arab youths outside a Jewish school in an Antwerp suburb. The stabbing prompted a national outcry and highlighted the anxieties of the city’s 15,000-20,000 Jews, half of them Orthodox. Antwerp has been home to a large community of Orthodox Jews for more than 700 years. Many of Antwerp’s Jews work in the world’s largest diamond distribution centre based in the heart of the city.