Israeli flags burned across Germany

Lazy eyes listen

Israeli flags were ripped down and set on fire in various towns across Germany, according to local media, citing police and officials. The flags were posted outside municipal halls and other public buildings in solidarity with the Jewish state, which was attacked by the Gaza-based militant group Hamas on October 7.

According to the news programme Tagesschau, flags were vandalised in at least 12 places in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Wurttemberg alone. On Monday night, an Israeli flag was erected on a pole outside Aachen’s municipal hall and set burned. The flag was hauled down twice in Witten, most recently on Friday night, while the flag flying outside a Protestant church in Bad Saeckingen was showered with stones.

Police told Bild newspaper that a drunk man in his 50s had attempted to tear down the flag in the city of Pirna (Saxony), but was stopped by officers. Israeli national symbols were taken down, stolen or destroyed in Mainz (Rhineland-Palatinate), Erfurt (Thuringia), Stralsund (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), and Stade (Lower Saxony), among other places.

“I strongly condemn the attack on our city hall and hope that the police will investigate,” stated Stade Mayor Soenke Hartlef. He went on to say that the town would “continue to show our solidarity with Israel and let the flag fly at the historic city hall despite and precisely because of this attack.”

Officers were able to identify the offenders in certain cases. The suspect in Schwerin (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) is a 17-year-old man of Iraqi descent who behaved as part of a group, some of whom were “with migrant background,” according to police.

In Germany, stealing and desecrating national flags is a crime punishable by up to three years in prison. In addition to the acts against Israeli flags, police claimed on Wednesday that swastikas and other symbols were used.