After Copenhagen attack, PM urges Jews to move to Israel

‘Once again Jews are murdered on the soil of Europe just for being Jews,’ says PM; Israeli leaders see Islamist motive behind attack

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, February 1, 2015 (photo credit: Alex Kolomoisky, Pool)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, February 1, 2015 (photo credit: Alex Kolomoisky, Pool)

The deadly shooting attack at a Copenhagen synagogue early Sunday will not mark the end of extremist Muslim terror attacks against European Jews, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned at Sunday’s cabinet meeting.

“We send our condolences to the Danish people, and also to the Jewish community in Denmark,” said Netanyahu. “Once again Jews are murdered on the soil of Europe just for being Jews. This wave of terror attacks is expected to continue, including these murderous anti-Semitic attacks.”

The shooting at the Krystalgade synagogue in downtown Copenhagen came just hours after a deadly shooting at a free-speech event at a local community center that featured an artist who had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad. One person was killed in the earlier shooting, while Dan Uzan, a member of the Copenhagen Jewish community in his late 30s, was killed outside the synagogue. Uzan was guarding the site at the time.

Five police officers were also wounded in the shootings, two of them outside the synagogue. On Sunday, police said they shot and killed a man they believed had carried out both shootings.

Police have not yet released information on the identity or motives of the attacker.

In his statement, Netanyahu called on the Danish Jewish community to move to Israel.

“Obviously Jews deserve protection in every country, but we say to the Jews, to our brothers and sisters: ‘Israel is your home,'” he told cabinet ministers in a prepared statement.

“We are preparing for a wave of mass aliya [Jewish immigration] from Europe; we are calling for a wave of mass aliya from Europe. I want to tell all the Jews of Europe, and Jews wherever they may be: ‘Israel is the home of every Jew… Israel awaits you with open arms,'” he said.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who also serves as Israel’s Diaspora affairs minister, spoke to Jewish community leaders in Denmark Sunday and offered his condolences.

“The State of Israel stands by you in this difficult time, ready to assist in any way,” Bennett said, according to a statement from his office. “We can’t accept that Jews are simply shot on the streets of Europe. We will not let Jews become easy targets for anti-Semitic attacks.”

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said terror incidents in Copenhagen over the weekend prove the need for “a truly uncompromising war against Islamic terror and its causes.”

The Jews, Liberman said, were the canary in the coalmine.

“The string of terror incidents in Copenhagen, at the synagogue and at the free-speech event, prove what we have been saying for years, that Israel and the Jews are the first to experience this terror because they are the front line in the terror war against the West and the entire free world,” the foreign minister insisted.

“The international community in its entirety cannot be satisfied with declarations and demonstrations against this terror, but must throw off the rules of political correctness and conduct and a truly uncompromising war against Islamic terror and its causes,” continued Liberman.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry was in constant contact with the Israeli Embassy in Denmark and is closely following the events, a statement from Liberman’s office said.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder also condemned the shootings and urged the Danish government to find those responsible, while stepping up efforts to protect the local Jewish community against rising anti-Semitic violence.

“The World Jewish Congress deplores these despicable attacks, and stands in solidarity with the Jewish community and the people of Denmark,” said Lauder. “We are confident the Danish government will take all necessary measures to bring those responsible for these attacks to justice, and we urge them to help secure the local Jewish community against anti-Semitic violence.

“These attacks in Copenhagen follow the similar, brutal targeting of Jews and others in Paris and across Europe,” continued Lauder. “European governments should recognize that we are facing a vicious new wave of anti-Semitism and violence. It is crucial that Europe contends with this growing threat.”

JTA contributed to this report.

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