TEL AVIV – Swastikas, “satanic” stars of David, and maps of Israel in the Palestinian flag’s colors adorn the walls of a Nazi airport-cum-refugee center in Berlin, according to an Israeli expat who recently visited the refugees housed there.
28-year-old Yonatan Shai visited what was formerly the Tempelhof Airport in an effort to “open dialogue” with some 2,000 refugees – mainly from Syrian and Iraq – who temporarily reside in the converted space.
The influx of refugees to the German capital has raised concern among members of the local Jewish community, so Shai, who moved to Berlin a year ago, decided to hear their views on Jews and Israel for himself.
“I’m not afraid, but I’m on guard,” German paper Die Welt quoted Shai as saying.
Shai described how the walls are covered in anti-Semitic graffiti that include red swastikas, Stars of David accompanied by the satanically-affiliated number 666, and maps of Israel in the colors of the Palestinian flag.
Shai linked the graffiti to those refugees with Palestinian backgrounds.
Shai, who kept his yarmulke on his head throughout the visit, heard some of the men uttering “Jew” under their breaths. While some were openly hostile, Shai said that others criticized the Israeli government but said they had no ill feelings toward Israelis in general.
One young refugee made menacing gestures and told Shai “the Jews must get out of the country.”
Shai departed the refugee center hopeful despite the less positive encounters, but was nevertheless left questioning how long Germany’s open-door refugee policy could hold up.