Oslo, Norway to Permanently Close Street Leading to Main Synagogue

The Jewish community of Norway has long lobbied for the closure, which city official had resisted and termed excessive.

Grzegorz Wysocki / Wikimedia Commons

The city of Oslo decided to permanently close to traffic the street leading to its main synagogue.

Ervin Kohn, president of the Jewish Community in Oslo and the deputy director of the Norwegian Center Against Racism, told JTA Thursday that the decision was made following the slaying on Feb. 15 of a guard at the main synagogue of Copenhagen in Denmark.

The Jewish community of Norway, which has seen a number of threats in recent years, has long lobbied for the closure, which city official had resisted and termed excessive.

“With this change, the security needs of the community are more or less satisfied,” Kohn said.

He also said the community planned to hold its services on the street on Saturday, as hundreds of non-Jews, including many Muslims, are expected to encircle the synagogue as a gesture expressing their outrage at the shooting at the Danish synagogue by a Muslim fanatic who hours earlier killed another person at a cafe which hosted a debate featuring a cartoonist who drew cartoons lampooning Islam.

The initiative, titled “Peace Ring,” was organized on Facebook and “has a chance of changing the dynamic in Scandinavia because it is grassroots and much more powerful than statements by Muslim community leaders, who have also been outspoken in condemning this violence,” Kohn added.

Both in Norway and in Sweden police beefed up security around synagogues, and in Sweden police also received protective gear for their own security.