Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, addressing the meeting held with the families of the victims of the Jewish school shooting in the French city of Toulouse, Thursday, said the nation was founded as a haven for Jews whose lives were under threat.
The three Jewish children and a teacher killed by the gunman on Monday were buried in Jerusalem on Wednesday in a ceremony attended by thousands of mourners, reported Agence France-Presse.
Netanyahu, in a condolence call to Eva Sandler whose husband and two children were killed by the attacker, said Israel was set up for safeguarding Jews from such threats.
I saw the depth of the grief and pain of a young mother who is feeding a baby, who lost her husband and two of her little children, the agony of life cut short and hope which was crushed, and I think to myself: what cruelty, what barbarity can cause a man to do an act which is so inhumane, AFP quoted Netanyahu as saying.
For these murderers, wherever a Jews walks, every centimeter of land he walks on, is occupied territory. From their perspective, Jews have no place in the world. They want to murder Jews wherever they are, and for that reason the state of Israel was established, he added.
He also met the principal of the school whose 7-year-old daughter was killed in the shooting.
Though Muslim and Jewish community leaders were eager to showcase their unity in French media following the tragic incident, Israeli media reported France's Jewish sentiments being otherwise.
Don't tell me French Muslims appreciate Jews - 50 percent of them hate Jews, Rabbi Michel Sarfati, responsible for creating the Jewish-Muslim friendship group, told Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Thursday. Many hate Jews because extremist imams denigrate Jews in their sermons. They say we're Israel's puppets. Moderate Muslims try to fight this hatred, but they're being threatened, and they get no support from the state.
Speculation was rife regarding the possible motive of the killer who filmed the murders with a mini-camera while shouting Allahu Akbar and You killed my brothers, I kill you.
Many believe that French election environment, flooded with anti-immigration and anti-minority rhetoric, may have fueled the right-wing extremist sentiments of the shooter.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe admitted on Thursday that there was a reason to ask whether national security flaws had allowed Mohamed Merah, the young Muslim with violent criminal record, to carry out the shootings, before being spotted by the authorities.
One can ask the question whether there was a failure or not, Juppe told Europe 1 radio. We need to bring some clarity to this.
French Opposition leaders have demanded to know how Merah, who was on a US government's no fly list, was able to carry out the attacks despite being under surveillance.