Federal Council offers 700 soldiers

Jewish people

Anniversary of the Zionist Congress: Federal Council mobilizes 700 soldiers

At the end of August, the celebrations for the 125th anniversary of the Zionist Congress take place in Basel. To ensure security, the Federal Council has also approved the use of the army.

The anniversary of the first Zionist Congress was celebrated 25 years ago in the Basel Stadtcasino.


On August 29, the Jewish community celebrates the 125th anniversary of the first Zionist Congress in Basel’s Stadtcasino. Around 1,200 guests from all over the world are expected at the event, including Israeli President Izchak Herzog. The first Zionist Congress in Basel in 1897 is considered an event of world historical importance. The Basel program adopted at that time stipulated that the Jewish people should be given a home in Palestine.

The Federal Council is also concerned with the security of the event. He had already decided last week to contribute to the security costs incurred by the canton of Basel-Stadt. On Wednesday he approved the subsidiary deployment of a maximum of 700 members of the army. According to a statement from the Defense Department (VBS), the army will help with the monitoring of locations and air transport. She will also make material available to the Basel cantonal police. «The canton of Basel-Stadt is responsible for the security of the meeting. At the request of the canton, the army is only used to provide support, »says DDPS spokeswoman Mireille Fleury.

Institutions want to operate in the background

The use of airspace above the Stadtcasino Basel is restricted. According to the DDPS, commercial flight operations in Basel-Mulhouse should not be affected. The Federal Council argues that this step is necessary to ensure the safety of the event. Switzerland is also obliged to ensure the protection of persons protected under international law. The Air Force will provide air policing and increased airspace surveillance.

The cantonal police of Basel-Stadt will also be on site with a large contingent, says police spokesman Adrian Plachesi. As always, the size would not be given before such occasions. But the goal defined together with the army is clear: “There should be no major restrictions for the public.” Places such as Barfüsserplatz should be accessible all day long, although there could be short-term temporary restrictions. It is also important that the two institutions operate in the background and do not want to attract attention. “We are therefore also preparing for the mission together.”