Austria, Slovenia fly Israeli flags in show of support

‘Nothing justifies terrorist rocket fire from Gaza,’ top Vienna diplomat says as EU countries take stand for security of Jewish state amid conflict with Hamas

The Austrian Federal Chancellery raised the Israeli flag (Up L) as a sign of solidarity, in Vienna on May 14, 2021. (HELMUT FOHRINGER / APA / AFP)
The Austrian Federal Chancellery raised the Israeli flag (Up L) as a sign of solidarity, in Vienna on May 14, 2021. (HELMUT FOHRINGER / APA / AFP)

The blue and white Israeli flag flew on official buildings in Austria and Slovenia on Friday in a sign of “solidarity” with the Jewish state, officials said.

In Austria, conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said in a statement sent to AFP: “I condemn with the utmost firmness the attacks against Israel from the Gaza Strip.”

“Israel has the right to defend itself against these attacks. To show our solidarity … we have put up the Israeli flag,” on the chancellery and the foreign ministry, the statement added.

“Nothing justifies the more than 1,000 rockets that Hamas and other terrorist groups have fired up to now at Israel from Gaza,” said Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.

“We strongly support the security of Israel.”

Israelis walk past damage caused to a building in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, after it was hit by a rocket fired from Gaza into Israel, last night. May 14, 2021. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90

Later in the day neighboring Slovenia joined in with a similar measure.

“In a sign of solidarity, we flew the Israeli flag on the government building,” the Slovene government said in a tweet with a photo of the standard.

“We condemn the terrorist attacks and stand with Israel,” it said.

In 2000, when Austria’s far-right FPOe — a party founded by former Nazis — joined the coalition government, Israel recalled its ambassador from Vienna in protest.

It took three years for ties to return to normal.

When Kurz took charge of a new coalition government with the FPOe in December 2017, he made improving relations with Israel a priority.

However, Israel refused to have any contact with ministers from the far right, who finally returned to the opposition in May 2019.

President Reuven Rivlin (right), Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen (center) and IDF chief Aviv Kohavi (center-left) inspecting an honor guard, in Vienna, Austria, March 17, 2021 (Amos Ben Gershom/ GPO)

Austria is today ruled by the conservatives in alliance with the Greens and in March, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin paid an official visit to Vienna.

The capital houses a major UN site and is currently hosting international negotiations to try to salvage the Iran nuclear agreement.

In the US, Republicans on Thursday stepped up pressure on President Joe Biden to halt the discussions as Iran’s ally Hamas fires rockets into Israel.

Israel bombarded Gaza with artillery and airstrikes on Friday following a new barrage of rockets from the Hamas-run enclave, intensifying a conflict that has claimed more than 120 lives.

Palestinians inspect destroyed buildings following overnight Israeli airstrikes in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, May 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

The most intense fighting between Israel and Palestinian terrorists in Gaza since 2014 has been accompanied by an unprecedented outbreak of mob violence between Jews and Arabs inside Israel.

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