The Israeli flag was flown from Rotterdam city hall in the Netherlands on Monday evening in a show of solidarity with the Jewish state after a terror attack in Jerusalem killed four IDF soldiers on Sunday.
Initially the gesture was reportedly ordered by Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, a Muslim from Morocco who moved to the Netherlands with his family when he was a teenager, the Hebrew-language Ynet website said Tuesday.
But in fact, the act was taken by acting mayor Joost Eerdmans, leader of the right-leaning and pro-Israel Livable Rotterdam party.
Founded in 2001, Livable Rotterdam is affiliated with the movement started by the late politician Pim Fortuyn, who was murdered in 2002 by a far-left activist.
East Jerusalem resident Fadi al-Qunbar drove a truck into a group of soldiers at the Haas-Sherover Promenade in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem on Sunday. In addition to the four deaths, over a dozen soldiers were injured, two of them seriously.
— Ynetnews (@ynetnews) January 10, 2017
According to Ynet, Israel’s ambassador to the Netherlands Aviv Shiran planned to call Aboutaleb and thank him for the show of support.
While the flag was displayed over the municipal building, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin was lit with the Israeli flag in another demonstration of support from Germany.
Like the Empire State Building, the Eiffel Tower and other landmarks, the gate is often used as a screen for national colors to show support in the wake of attacks and other incidents.
The Berlin landmark was illuminated with the Turkish flag last week following the Istanbul New Year’s attack.
The Israeli soldiers, a group of officer cadets, were getting off a bus at the promenade, a popular tourist spot in southern Jerusalem, when Qunbar, a resident of the capital’s Jabel Mukaber neighborhood, rammed into them with a large flatbed truck.
The soldiers were visiting the capital as part of the army’s “Culture Sundays,” in which troops are taken to important historical and national sites at the beginning of the week.
The four soldiers who were killed were Lieutenant Yael Yekutiel (20) of Givatayim, Cadet Shir Hajaj (22) of Maaleh Adumim, Cadet Shira Tzur (20) from Haifa, and Cadet Erez Orbach (20) from Alon Shvut. They were buried in military ceremonies on Monday.
Qunbar was shot dead by soldiers and an armed tour guide who were at the scene.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.
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