An Orthodox Jewish boy and his father were violently attacked in Antwerp on Wednesday night.
The incident, in which the alleged assailant grabbed the 13-year-old Orthodox boy by the throat and then attacked the boy’s father, was blamed on antisemitism that has resurfaced in the Belgian city and was possibly fuelled by comments from Antwerp Mayor Bart De Wever in relation to COVID19 compliance and the Orthodox community.
Two days earlier, Mayor De Wever had commented on the poor response to a mail-shot inviting 6,500 residents of Antwerp’s Jewish quarter to test for the virus. In criticising the low response he asserted that the community risked a “wave of antisemitism” as a result.
His critics claim that the comments, in which he referenced “Jewish schools” and the “Jewish quarter”, singled out Jews for criticism and helped to fuel antisemitism in Belgium.