An insurance company has refused to renew the policy of a Jewish kindergarten in Brussels, claiming that the risk of doing so is too high, given the clear threat of anti-Semitic attacks.
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The European Jewish Kindergarten, whose enrollment usually ranges from 20-30 children, is located in the same district as the European Union headquarters.
A spokesperson for the European Jewish Association, a federation of Jewish organizations on the continent, reports, “The insurance agent contacted us a few days ago with the unpleasant news that the insurance company we’ve worked with up to now is not prepared to extend the kindergarten’s insurance policy, in the current situation, due to the high risk entailed by a Jewish institution.”
Asked how the kindergarten can resume operations after the Passover break, the spokesperson replied, “The agent we work with has also just gone on vacation and he’s away from Belgium right now – but we will certainly keep looking for an insurance company that will agree to provide us with a policy. In the meantime, we are also calling on European governments to make sure that this issue of protecting the Jews in their countries stays on the agenda. The refusal to insure a kindergarten just because it is Jewish should sound loud alarms for all of Europe’s leaders and stir them to take action.”
“It’s an absolute disgrace that the situation has come to this,” said Rabbi Menachem Margolin, director of the European Jewish Association and of the Rabbinical Center of Europe, in a statement to the media. “First, not enough is being done to secure Jewish institutions in Europe despite the repeated requests and numerous warnings – and consequently insurance companies are using the situation to avoid the risk of insuring Jewish kindergartens. What a surreal and cynical reality.”
The refusal to insure the kindergarten comes less than a year after the terror attack at the Brussels Jewish Museum, in which a French jihadist opened fire at the museum entrance, killing four people including an Israeli couple. That attack in May 2014, followed by the January killings at the kosher supermarket in Paris, have prompted insurance companies to regard Jewish institutions as high risk.