According to school administrators, law enforcement officials and social workers, the on-going conflict in Gaza has led to heightened tensions between Jews and Arabs – particularly Palestinians – here in Denmark.
And although few headmasters of schools have faced the situation, most of those at schools with a high percentage of children of Arab descent say they try to prevent Jewish parents from enrolling their children there.
On Monday, headmaster Olav Nielsen of Humlehave School in Odense publicly admitted he would refuse Jewish parents’ wish to place their child at his school.
The comments were made following an incident last week in which two Israeli citizen’s were shot and wounded at a city shopping centre. Police believe the incident was a reaction to the Gaza conflict.
Other headmasters have now come forth to support Nielsen’s position, adding that they are putting the child’s safety first.
At Caroline Skole in Copenhagen’s Østerbro district, video cameras watch over the playground and entrances of the school, which is surrounded by a 2.5 metre-high barbed-wire fence.
One parent whose child goes to the Jewish school said thinking about the extra security can be disturbing at times, but she felt it was necessary.
Rabbi Bent Lexner called the headmasters’ concern ‘theoretical. In reality, Jewish parents would never try to enrol their child in those schools.’