In the wake of the latest terrorist attacks in Europe, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday if Jewish people aren’t safe there, then they are encouraged to migrate to Israel. The prime minister made his comments in response to the shooting at a Copenhagen synagogue that left dead 38-year-old security guard Dan Uzan in one of the two attacks carried out in the Danish capital this weekend.
“Extreme Islamic terror in Europe has struck again, and this time it’s in Denmark,” the Jerusalem Post quoted Netanyahu as saying at a meeting of Israel’s cabinet: We send our condolences to the families of those killed. They are once again killing Jews on European soil simply for being Jewish.”
According to the prime minister: “The wave of attacks against Jews in Europe is expected to continue, and it is up to us to stay prepared. Jews need protection wherever they are, but we’re telling you: Israel is your home.”
Referring to plans by the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption to provide additional funding to help European Jews to migrate to Israel -- a phenomenon called aliyah, which is translated variously as “ascent” or “return” -- Netanyahu said Jews would always be welcome in his country.
“Israel is there for [European Jewry], and Israel is their home,” Netanyahu said. “Today, the government will discuss a NIS180 million [$46.25 million] program to support aliyah, and we are going to create more programs for Jews around the world. Israel is waiting for you with open arms.”
The extra funding will go toward enhanced Hebrew lessons and an improved telephone hotline for Jews from France, Belgium and Ukraine to move to Israel. Belgium and France have both seen deadly anti-Semitic attacks recently. It is unclear whether Denmark will be added to the list after the attacks there this weekend.
Speaking of the mass demonstrations protesting the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris last month, Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said rallies weren’t enough and that the international community should launch a “devastating war against Islamic terror and its root causes”.
It’s believed the slain security guard at the synagogue forestalled a massacre by preventing access to the building where a bar mitzvah was taking place. Uzan, whose mother is Danish and father is Israeli, is thought to have been shot in the head at point-blank range.
Local community leader Dan Rosenberg Asmussen said, “I dare not think about what would have happened if [the killer] had access to the congregation.” Rabbi Yair Melchior said Uzan had “saved lives.”
Speaking outside the synagogue, Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said: “Our thoughts go to the whole Jewish community today. They belong in Denmark, they are a strong part of our community, and we will do everything we can to protect the Jewish community in our country.”