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Jewish community vital and valuable to Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon

The First Minister has addressed reports of concerns over rising anti-Semitism in the UK.

The First Minister was responding to a report that some Jews are considering leaving Scotland (Jane Barlow/PA)
The First Minister was responding to a report that some Jews are considering leaving Scotland (Jane Barlow/PA)

Nicola Sturgeon has said the Jewish community are a “vital and valuable” part of Scottish society, following concerns over rising anti-Semitism in the UK.

The First Minister was responding to a report in the Sunday Herald which claimed Jews are “actively considering” leaving Scotland over anti-Semitism.

The report said Ephraim Borowski, director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, told the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief last year that Jews feel times have changed.

According to minutes taken from the meeting, Mr Borowski said: “Mostly the Jewish community used to feel that Scotland was a good place to be Jewish, but for many that has reversed.

“Many Jews actively discuss leaving Scotland because they feel alienated, vulnerable and not at home.”

We value our Jewish communities, we value the contribution they make to Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon

Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government’s actions to address the issue, including work to tackle hate crime and build community cohesion as well as adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, should send a strong message that anti-Semitism is “entirely unacceptable”.

Speaking during First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood on Thursday, she said: “The Scottish Government is committed to tackling hate crime and prejudice and I want to reassure Scotland’s Jewish communities that there is no place in Scotland for any form of anti-Semitism or religious hatred.

“We value our Jewish communities, we value the contribution they make to Scotland, and I think that’s a message that should go out strongly from this chamber.

“I’ve got huge respect for Ephraim and the work that he does, I’ve discussed this issue with him personally in the past.

“The Jewish community is a valuable, vital part of our society in Scotland and if one member of that community feels unsafe here, then all of us have a duty to respond to that and to do everything possible to change that.

“That’s a responsibility that I take very seriously for the Jewish community and for any other minority community living in our diverse country.”

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