Publicity in Belgium and on Israeli television of police dismissal of a brutal anti-Semitic attack on a woman on her apartment has raised the rafters in Brussels where one Jewish leader said the incident “sounds like something from 1930s Germany.”
The police not only ignored the attack but also scoffed at it after neighbors attacked Cindy Meul in her apartment after they constantly harassed her and her girlfriend, former Israeli tennis champion Ruth Sverdloff and her daughters.
When the two women moved into their apartment, Sverdloff promptly put a mezuzah on the apartment door.
The neighbors then banged on the walls and shouted,” stinking Jews,” “we do not want Jews in this building” and other expressions that cannot be reprinted here, lawyer Mischael Modrikamen told the Jewish magazine Joods Actueel in Antwerp. They said they came “to finish what the Nazis started.”
The hate language turned to violence when two neighbors burst into the apartment on May 24 and beat up Meul, who was alone at the time, and broke her nose.
‘’When the ambulance took Cindy Meul at hospital, she saw a policewoman laughing and chatting with the aggressors,” Modrikamen told the Jewish magazine. Meul was hospitalized for 15 days.
When Sverdloff complained to the police in English, she was reportedly told by a police officer, “This is Flanders and you must speak Flemish.”
The police did not act on the complaints until the publicity nearly a month later.
Sverdloff was so concerned that she sent her daughter to her grandparents “because the child was too scared to stay here any longer.”
Joel Rubinfeld, the Brussels-born co-chair of the European Jewish Parliament, said, “The reports concerning this case are extremely disconcerting: It sounds like something from 1930s Germany. Especially disquieting is the authorities’ apparent inaction.” The JTA reported.
Earlier this month prosecutors in Brussels decided not to file charges in a separate case from 2011, in which a 15-year-old Jewish girl who was identified in the Belgian media only as Oceane was attacked outside her school by five boys who called her a “dirty Jew” before hitting her repeatedly in the face. “A pattern of indifference emerges,” Rubinfeld said.