As per a report from The Associated Press published yesterday on 15th February, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for “massive immigration” of the Jews of Europe to Israel. The call has been given in the backdrop of a dastardly shooting in the main Synagogue of Copenhagen. He added that with the rising anti-Semitism sentiment in Europe, it was in Israel that Jews of the world can really feel safe and secured. The robust message has upset a few of the friends of Israel in Europe.
However, Jair Melchior, the chief rabbi of Copenhagen, expressed anguish and disappointment over the Netanyahu’s comments. He remarked that Jews from Denmark migrate to Israel for their love of Israel, and respect for Zionism, but certainly not for fear of terrorism. If running away from the place of terrorism is the solution, he told The Associated Press, each one should flee to a deserted island.
Netanyahu’s call for immigration came in the weekly meeting of the Israeli cabinet while approving the scheduled $46 million plan to support immigration of Jews from Belgium, France, Ukraine, and other countries, the Jews of which have expressed their desires to move to Israel. There have been deadly attacks on Jewish communities in Belgium and France in the recent past; the newest being an attack last month in Paris which killed four Jews at a market place. Ukraine, presently, is in a war between government forces and Russian-led separatists, and the situation might go out of control.
Netanyahu said that the present spate of attacks on Jews is likely to continue, and they need and deserve security in each country. He further addressed Jews settled abroad as brothers and sisters, and referred Israel as their natural home. His remarks are certainly a part of his re-election campaign he is leading for a third term as Prime Minister of the country. The election is scheduled to be held on 17th March. He has been focusing on the security concerns of Israel and Jews worldwide in his election campaign, and enlightening voters on threats from Islamic terrorist groups throughout the world.
Netanyahu has raised this issue at a time when European countries are upset over Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories captured by Israel and claimed by Palestine. Many Israelis believe criticisms by European countries have fuelled anti-Semitism. European leaders, on the other hand, have insisted that criticism of Israel is not meant against the Jew community residing in their countries. At the time of Netanyahu rushing to France following the supermarket incident, Manuel Valla, French Prime Minister, declared that France sans Jews was no France. The security of Synagogues, schools, and other Jewish establishments has been beefed up. Nevertheless, it is a fact that Jews from France have been migrating to Israel in large numbers despite French authorities appeal not to migrate, and the pattern has baffled French authorities even before the kosher super market attack. The migration of Jews from France accelerated after the attacks by Mohammed Merah in March 2012 on a Jewish school at Toulouse that killed a rabbi and three children. Over 7000 Israelis emigrated from France in 2014, and the figure is more than double that of 2013. The attack last month in France carried out by groups claiming allegiance to al-Qaida formed a part of a series of violence, and it left 17 people dead.
In Denmark, head of the Danish intelligence agency PET, Jens Madsen, said that investigations revealed that the gunman who shot dead two persons in separate attacks belonged to the group of Islamic radicals. A visibly moved Prime Minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who was accompanied by Bent Lexner, the former chief rabbi, Dan Rosenberg, Jewish community leader, and Anders Gadegaard of protestant cathedral of Copenhagen on Sunday laid flowers at the Synagogue. He said that the entire Denmark was with the Jews, and he added, he wanted a Denmark where people had the freedom to choose their own religion. Denmark, known for its efforts to save Jews during the World War II, has an estimated 6000 to 7000 Jews presently.
After the kosher super market attack in Paris, Jewish community in Denmark demanded enhanced security arrangements, and Danish police have since then beefed up security of Jewish settlements, Melanchior, the chief rabbi, said while boarding a plane to Copenhagen.