French army may protect Jewish sites, community leader says
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French army may protect Jewish sites, community leader says

Jewish group decries Israeli government’s ‘Pavlovian’ calls for emigration; kosher market victims to be buried in Jerusalem

Police officers stand in front of a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, on January 10, 2015 a day after four people were killed at the Jewish supermarket by jihadist gunman Amedy Coulibaly. (AFP/Kenzo Tribouillard)
Police officers stand in front of a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, on January 10, 2015 a day after four people were killed at the Jewish supermarket by jihadist gunman Amedy Coulibaly. (AFP/Kenzo Tribouillard)

Jewish schools and synagogues will be protected “if necessary” by the French army, a leading figure in the country’s Jewish community said after meeting with President Francois Hollande on Sunday.

“He told us that all the schools, all the synagogues will be protected, if necessary, on top of the police, by the army,” said Roger Cukierman, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France, of his meeting with Hollande.

Hollande said he would visit the Grand Synagogue of Paris after a march to commemorate the 17 victims of a string of jihadist attacks in the capital last week, the last of which killed four Jews at a kosher supermarket on Friday.

The announcement came as the director of the European Jewish Association panned the Israeli government for pushing immigration to Israel instead of protecting Jewish communities abroad.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked France on Friday to maintain tight security at Jewish sites. But a European Jewish organization decried the dearth of Israeli security at these sites on Sunday, and criticized the repeated calls by Israeli politicians for immigration to the Jewish state in the aftermath the Paris attacks.

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, director of the European Jewish Association (EJA), said in a statement that the “Pavlovian” calls for mass immigration to Israel “is not the solution for anti-Semitic terror.”

Rabbi Menachem Margolin (photo credit: courtesy European Jewish Association)
Rabbi Menachem Margolin (photo credit: courtesy European Jewish Association)

“Aliya is one’s personal yearning and should definitely be a goal for the State of Israel,” he said, using the Hebrew term for immigration to the Jewish state. “However, anyone who is familiar with the European reality knows that a call to make aliya is not the solution for anti-Semitic terror.

“The Israeli government must increase security for the European Jewish community, rather than just repeat Pavlovian calls for aliya after every terror attack,” he added.

Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, former finance minister Yair Lapid, and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman have issued similar calls to French Jewry to move to Israel in the wake of the attack at the HyperCacher kosher supermarket.

“To all the Jews of France, all the Jews of Europe, I would like to say that Israel is not just the place in whose direction you pray, the state of Israel is your home,” Netanyahu said in a statement on Saturday. Liberman warned that the best “security precaution [for Jews] may be aliya to Israel.”

The statement from the EJA on Sunday insisted that “all such Israeli campaigns weaken and damage the strength of our Jewish communities that are entitled to live safely in Europe.”

Margolin said he had been in contact with European interior ministers to encourage them to ease gun permits for Jews, and provide self-defense training to Jewish community leaders.

Netanyahu, Liberman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett are to attend a massive rally in Paris Sunday afternoon — along with some 30 other world leaders — in commemoration of the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack, in which 12 people were killed, and the attack on the kosher supermarket. The  demonstration on Sunday afternoon was expected to draw at least one million participants.

On Tuesday morning, the four Jewish victims of the Paris supermarket attack — Yohan Cohen, 22; Yoav Hattab, 21; Phillipe Barham, 45; and François-Michel Saada, 64 — will be buried in Israel in a state ceremony, Yedioth Ahronoth reported. The four bodies will be airlifted to Israel on Monday night, and laid to rest on the Mount of Olives, the report said. The Foreign Ministry reached out to the families with an offer to bury the victims in Israel, although they were not Israeli citizens, and the families accepted. The four will officially recognized as terror victims.

Contradicting the Yedioth report, Rabbi Batto Hattab, the chief rabbi of Tunisia and father of Yoav Hattab, told Israel Hayom his son would be buried at the Har Hamenuhot cemetery in Jerusalem, not the Mount of Olives.

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