Moscow, October 30, Interfax - It is much safer now for Jews to be in Russia than in the United States or Europe, Russia's Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar said.
"I cannot say that we feel fully safe here. But it is much better in Russia now than in the U.S., not to speak of Europe," the rabbi said in an article published in Nezavisimaya Gazeta on Tuesday.
He said he cannot be sure that a terror attack similar to the one that recently took place in Pittsburgh cannot happen at a Russian synagogue. But there is less anti-Semitism in today's Russia than in the West, Lazar said.
"I believe it could happen anywhere. We're talking about common trends and the atmosphere in general. In these terms, it is better in Russia now than in Europe or even the U.S. It was way worse here than in Europe and the U.S. in the 1990s. There is a trend in Europe that people are afraid of going outside wearing a kippah or any sign showing that they're Jewish. It's not like that in Russia," the chief rabbi said.
Anti-Semitism also exists in Russia, but the question is how the public and the authorities view it, Lazar said.
"The situation [surrounding Jews] in the U.S. in the past two or the years is much worse than ever. It was never like that in America. But it was already possible to imagine then that an incident like the one in Pittsburgh could happen," he said, expressing hope that the Pittsburgh tragedy will be a wake-up call.
On October 24, 46-year-old Robert Bowers opened fire at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, killing 11 people and injuring 12.