Corona in Antwerp: “Jewish neighbourhoods are on fire.”

Police in Antwerp had to halt gatherings at a synagogue twice yesterday because too many people were present.  The Mayor of Antwerp, Bart De Wever, has reproved the attitude of a group of orthodox Jews, who believe they have the law on their side.

The gatherings occurred in a synagogue in the Van Spangenstraat, where a similar incident occurred last December.

Police were alerted to the gathering by somebody who had witnessed it.  They attended the scene and were initially not granted admission.  The very moment permission arrived from the public prosecutor’s office police were admitted.  Police had no trouble identifying all those present.

Mayor De Wever: “Part of the orthodox community insists on celebrating the liturgy on the sabbath.  They read in the law that this is permitted because they go to the synagogue as individuals.”

“This results in incident after incident in certain synagogues at a time when the epidemiological situation in these neighbourhoods has adopted tragic proportions.  In four Jewish quarters numbers of cases per 100,000 head of population have risen above 1,000.  This is four times the average.  These neighbourhoods are on fire.”

Mr De Wever (Flemish nationalist) has called on the interior minister to make it clear to the orthodox Jewish community that they do not have the law on their side.

“This must be made clear, but let me be clear; this behaviour is totally unacceptable.  It’s disastrous.”

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