Denmark’s Radio Shalom has gone off the air after weekend terror attacks targeting a Bat Mitzvah at the Copenhagen Grand Synagogue and an event for free speech at a cafe.
Danish security officials advised the country’s sole Jewish radio station to close, saying it was “too dangerous” to continue broadcasting.
Monday night was the first time in history the station did not broadcast its usual mix of Jewish news, culture and music.
Radio Shalom general manager Abraham Kopenhagen told the DR Nyheder newspaper, “PET says it’s too dangerous. We do not feel that it is too dangerous, but we respect the information we are given.”
The other option, said Kopenhagen, was to continue broadcasting under police protection – which meant a round-the-clock presence of security personnel.
“We must do as instructed but we will not have police standing outside the door,” Kopenhagen said. “We would rather close down until it is quiet again. I do not know how long that will take.”
Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt asked the country’s Jews not to leave, despite the obvious danger.
“The Jewish community have been in this country for centuries. They belong in Denmark, they are part of the Danish community and we wouldn’t be the same without the Jewish community in Denmark,” she told media on Sunday.
In response, a spokesperson for Denmark’s Jewish community said Danish Jews had no plans to leave despite Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s invitation to move to Israel.
“We’re very grateful for Netanyahu’s concern but having said that, we are Danish – we’re Danish Jews but we’re Danish – and it won’t be terror that makes us go to Israel,” said Jeppe Juhl, a spokesperson for the Jewish Community of Denmark. “We understand his concern for our well-being, and we value his concern but we are Danish and we’re staying in Denmark. If we move to Israel it’s for other reasons,” Juhl told AFP.
According to a report by The Tablet magazine, Radio Shalom was not the only Jewish institutional casualty resulting from Saturday’s terror attacks.
The Caroline School (Carolineskolen) one of the oldest Jewish schools in the world, closed down as well following the attacks. The school had been targeted by anti-Semites in the past, including late last summer when its windows were smashed and graffiti reading “No peace to you Zionist pigs” was spray-painted on its walls.
Just two weeks earlier, the school administration had forbidden students from wearing religious Jewish symbols – hoping to prevent precisely the type of attack that followed so quickly on the heels of its warning.Hana Levi Julian