03 June 2011
Finland's most prominent Jewish politician, Parliament Speaker Ben Zyskowicz, has been assaulted by a man shouting a racial slur against Jews. Zyskowicz, a member of the National Coalition Party who was recently appointed as president of the Finnish parliament, was attacked by a middle-aged man in Helsinki, the local newspaper 'Ilta-Sanomat' reported. "The situation was quite out of nowhere. He came directly at me and tried to hit me in the face. However, I managed to swerve,” the newspaper quoted Zyskowicz as saying. He said the assailant had called him a “jutkuksi”, a Finnish slur against Jews. The 57-year-old politician was not injured in the incident.
Zyskowicz is the first member of the 1,500-strong Jewish community of Finland to be elected to parliament. “These attacks are rare,” Israeli-Finnish blogger Dennis Mitzner told the 'Jerusalem Post', adding: “If you walk around Helsinki any time you’ll find Zyskowicz at a cafe having lunch. He’s one of the most visible politicians and is very accessible, perhaps the most popular politician in the country. I don’t remember the last time a Jew was attacked in Finland.”
Finnish President Tarja Halonen condemned the incident, and Zyskowicz said he wouldn’t press charges against his assailant.
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