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On Israel trip, Romanian president calls compatriot hurt in Jaffa attack

‘I wanted to hear from him how he feels,’ says Klaus Iohannis, who invites unnamed stabbing victim to visit

Benjamin Netanyahu (R) holds a joint press conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in Jerusalem on March 7, 2016. Marc Israel Sellem/Pool)
Benjamin Netanyahu (R) holds a joint press conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in Jerusalem on March 7, 2016. Marc Israel Sellem/Pool)

Romanian President Klaus Werner Iohannis on Tuesday spoke on the phone to a compatriot who was wounded in a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv-Jaffa.

Iohannis, who was in Israel at the time, told media on Wednesday of his conversation with the Romanian-Israeli victim of the March 8 stabbing attack, during a series of three attacks that left an American tourist dead and 10 others wounded.

“I talked to him earlier. I wanted to hear from him how he feels,” Iohannis, who was in Israel on his first official visit as president when the attack happened, was quoted as telling the news agency Agerpres. “He’s still weak after surgery. He feels relatively well and is in stable condition.”

After visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the president said he had invited the victim, who was not named, to visit him in Romania after he recovers.

File: Security forces at the scene of a stabbing attack that killed one person and injured 10 others at the Jaffa Port on March 8, 2016 (Judah Ari Gross/Times of Israel)
File: Security forces at the scene of a stabbing attack that killed one person and injured 10 others at the Jaffa Port on March 8, 2016 (Judah Ari Gross/Times of Israel)

On Thursday, Iohannis also visited Ramallah in the West Bank, where he met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and spoke of the need to avoid violence and work toward implementing a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We understand that Israel’s security is vital and crucial,” said Iohannis, whose country is one of the Jewish state’s staunchest advocates within the European Union, during an address in Israel. “There is no compromising on this. The war of terror requires Romania’s determination and we are members of the alliance against ISIS out of the realization of the need to fight terror,” he said of the Islamic State terrorist group.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis shake hands during a joint press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on March 10, 2016. (AFP/ABBAS MOMANI)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis shake hands during a joint press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on March 10, 2016. (AFP/ABBAS MOMANI)

Days before Iohannis’s visit, the World Jewish Restitution Organization announced it had successfully negotiated additional funds for nearly 1,000 Holocaust survivors from Romania living in Israel. Approximately $1.6 million will be distributed among 947 victims under the new deal, which the WJRO negotiated in multilateral talks, including with the Romanian government.

The deal benefits “the very poorest Romanian Holocaust survivors in Israel — those living at the poverty line,” said Gideon Taylor, WJRO chair of operations. Talks on restitution of Jewish-owned property without heirs in Romania are ongoing.

On Tuesday, Romania took over from Hungary the rotating chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – an international body working to commemorating the genocide. Some 750,000 Jews lived in Romania prior to the Holocaust; approximately half were killed. Today, only a few thousand Jews live there.

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