Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin (r) meets with Finnish Ambassador Kirsikka Lehto-Asikainen at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem. (GPO/Amos Ben-Gershom)

The Israeli Embassy in Helsinki reportedly has been targeted by far-right extremists and neo-Nazis on at least 15 occasions since 2018.

Finland is taking attacks on the Israeli embassy in Helsinki very seriously and is vowing to fight anti-Semitism in any form, the country’s ambassador to the Jewish State writes in an article published by the Ynet news website.

“The relations between Finland and Israel are long-standing, strong and diverse. We have active cooperation in the fields of trade and economy, culture and science,” says Ambassador Kirsikka Lehto-Asikainen in an opinion piece.

“We have lots of common interests for instance in innovation, high-tech, and start up sectors. Also people-to-people relations are vibrant. More and more Israeli tourists visit Finland. Next year we will celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations between Finland and Israel,” she adds.

Acknowledging, however, that there have been multiple incidents of “vandalism and attacks against the Embassy of Israel in Helsinki, Finland during recent months,” the Finnish diplomat explains that “Finnish authorities relate to any suspected hate-crime or act of racism, including those with anti-Semitic motives, with utmost concern. Finland is committed to combatting anti-Semitism as a part of its activities to fight discrimination and racism in order to guarantee the right of freedom of religion and opinion.”

“The embassy, located in the capital city of Helsinki, has been targeted by far-right extremists and neo-Nazis on at least 15 occasions since…2018, yet stopping the harassment doesn’t seem to be a priority for the local authorities,” wrote The Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism on its website in July.

Israel’s Ambassador to Finland Dov Segev-Steinberg “has raised the issue with the local authorities on multiple occasions. But, while senior officials in the country express concern over the situation, tough measures against the perpetrators are yet to be implemented,” says the forum.

“The police authorities in Helsinki, as well as the Ministry for Foreign Affairs [in] Finland have regular contact with the Embassy of Israel in Helsinki regarding security issues,” the Finnish ambassador to Israel maintains in her Ynet article.

She says that police have increased their “patrols to monitor the Israeli Embassy and the residence premises” and that “the reported crimes and incidents are currently being investigated by the authorities.”

“Anti-Semitic crimes are relatively uncommon in Finland,” writes Lehto-Asikainen in Ynet. “Nevertheless,” Lehto-Asikainen pledges, “we share the concern on the increase of anti-Semitism in Europe and worldwide.”