France’s president vowed to find the perpetrators behind an assault on two Jewish brothers nears Paris Sunday, while condemning a deadly attack on a Jewish museum in neighboring Belgium a day earlier.
“We must do everything to fight against anti-Semitism and racism,” Francois Hollande told French TV hours after the Paris attack, which left two brothers in serious condition after a beating outside a synagogue.
France’s interior minister ordered police to bolster security around Jewish houses of worship and community centers Sunday in response to the attack, according to British news outlet The Independent.
In Belgium, security around Jewish buildings was also raised.
Hollande also strongly condemned Saturday’s shooting attack, which left four people dead in Brussels.
Hollande, who along with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a phone conversation with the Belgian premier, said he had no doubt about the “anti-Semitic character” of the attack.
The French president condemned the “horrifying killings with the greatest force.”
France was the sight of a high-profile terror attack on a Jewish school in the town of Toulouse in 2012. A rabbi, his two sons and another girl were killed in that attack, carried out by a radical Muslim terrorist.
Police in Belgium on Sunday were still searching for the perpetrator of the museum attack. Officials released three videos which showed the perpetrator carrying out the attack, his face concealed by a cap.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier slammed the attack, saying he was “deeply shocked,” and extended his “deep sympathy” to the families of the fallen.
“I am expressing my sincere condolences to them, as well as to the Jewish community and to our neighbor Belgium,” he said in a statement.
“Even if the motives of the attack are not yet known in detail: It is shocking that particularly at this place dedicated to remembering and to the Jewish religion, human beings were murdered.”
The foreign minister also insisted “all must be done to shed full light on this horrible incident.”
While the gunman remains on the run, and no motive has yet been declared, Chairman of the Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky drew a line between anti-Zionism fervor in Europe and the attack.
“While Jews as individuals are no longer demonized in Europe as they were in previous centuries, the demonization of Israel – the collective Jew — continues to rise to new heights, creating a toxic atmosphere in which Jews live in fear and those who target them flourish,” he said in a statement.
“Until Europe declares war on the demonization of Israel, no security measure will help,” he added.
Sharansky’s words echoed those of Netanyahu, who lashed out at Europe for “hypocrisy” in its attitude to the Jewish state.
Netanyahu said the attack was a result of “incessant incitement against Israel by different elements in the Middle East and Europe itself,” denouncing the latter for what he said was a hypocritical attitude to Israel.
“There are elements in Europe that rush to condemn the construction of a flat in Jerusalem but who do not rush to condemn, or offer only a weak condemnation of the murder of Jews here or in Europe itself,” he said, referring to Israel’s ongoing settlement construction in the West Bank and in annexed east Jerusalem.
“Even worse, they applaud unity with terror groups like Hamas, which calls for the destruction of Israel,” he said.
The premier was referring to Europe’s welcome of an intra-Palestinian reconciliation agreement between leaders in the West Bank and the Islamist rulers of Gaza.
“We oppose this hypocrisy; we defy it,” he said.
The two Israelis killed in the deadly attack were identified late Sunday morning as Tel Aviv residents Mira and Emmanuel Riva, who were on an organized, private walking tour of Brussels when the shooting took place.