Swiss police are investigating after Jewish man is stabbed in Zurich in possible hate crime

World News

(JR) — Swiss Jews are planning a vigil after a 50-year-old member of the Orthodox community in Zurich was stabbed Saturday night in what police say may be a hate crime.

The 50-year-old man who was stabbed is hospitalized after suffering life-threatening wounds, according to Tachles, a Swiss Jewish magazine.

A 15-year-old male suspect was arrested at the scene, in the center of Zurich a few minutes’ walk from multiple synagogues. A first responder told Blick, a Swiss news site, that the teenager laughed while he was arrested. The site and accounts in Orthodox media reported that witnesses said the suspect made Islamist and antisemitic comments during the attack.

“The background and the course of events are unclear,” the Zurich City Police said in a statement Saturday night. “The ongoing investigations by the Zurich cantonal police and the responsible youth prosecutor’s office are going in all directions and explicitly include the possibility of an antisemitic crime.”

The police department said on Sunday that the suspect has been referred to the juvenile justice system. In addition, the department said in a statement, security precautions have been strengthened around the city, home to an estimated 6,000 Jews.

“The Zurich City Police, after consultation with the Jewish organizations in the City of Zurich, have increased security precautions around specific locations with a Jewish connection as a precautionary measure,” the statement said.

The incident comes amid an uptick in reported antisemitic incidents around the world amid the Israel-Hamas war.

“The SIG is deeply shocked that a community member fell victim to such an attack,” the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities, known as SIG, said in a statement. “Physical attacks on Jewish people in Switzerland are very rare. The Jewish community has been spared from such life-threatening attacks for the past two decades. However, there has been a significant increase in such physical attacks since October 7th.”

The group’s secretary general, Jonathan Kreutner, told Blick that the local Jewish community would not be deterred by the incident.