Netanyahu holds out Israeli haven, French Jews promised protection -UPDATED

CRIF President Roger Cukierman said after a meeting with Hollande that "They told us that all schools and all synagogues will be protected in measures that, if necessary, extend beyond the police to the army."

Netanyahu holds out Israeli haven, French Jews promised protection -UPDATED

World Bulletin/News Desk

Jewish schools and synagogues in France have been promised extra protection, by the army if necessary, after killings in Paris, the head of the community's umbrella group said on Sunday after a meeting with President Francois Hollande.

The attacker who took hostages in a siege of a Paris kosher supermarket in which four people died on Friday said he was targeting the Jewish community. The gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, was killed as police broke the siege.

"We have our sadness and our rage, we also have a set out a number of urgent measures to take," CRIF President Roger Cukierman said after a meeting with Hollande.

"They told us that all schools and all synagogues will be protected in measures that, if necessary, extend beyond the police to the army."

The four victims at the supermarket were among a total of 17 people, including journalists and policemen, killed in three days of violence in and around Paris.

It began with a shooting attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday and ended with Coulibaly's death. Two other gunmen were also killed in another shootout north of the capital.

France has the largest Jewish population in Europe, having grown by nearly half since World War Two to total some 550,000 according to CRIF. Anti-Semitic threats and incidents more than doubled last year, according to the Ministry of the Interior.

"Israeli haven"

Meanwhile, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu coupled a show of solidarity with France on Sunday with a reminder to shaken French Jews that Israel is keen to welcome them as immigrants.

The timing of his message that "Israel is also your home" could clash with attempts by French leaders to reassure Europe's largest Jewish community after the shock assaults that included hostage-taking at a kosher supermarket.

In a statement late on Saturday, Netanyahu said an Israeli governmental committee would convene in the coming week to find ways to boost Jewish immigration from France and other European countries "which are being hit by terrible anti-Semitism".

"To all the Jews of France and to all the Jews of Europe, I wish to say: the State of Israel is not only the place to which you pray, the State of Israel is also your home," he said.

In 2004, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon angered Paris by urging French Jews to flee "the wildest anti-Semitism" in their native country and come to Israel.

In remarks to reporters as he boarded the flight to Paris, Netanyahu avoided any outright call for France's 550,000 Jews to leave. He said only he would tell them that "any Jew who wants to immigrate to Israel will be received here with open arms".

Under Israel's Law of Return, anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent has a right of immigration to Israel and, once there, can receive Israeli citizenship automatically.

Faced with an upsurge in anti-Semitic attacks and threats, some 7,000 French Jews immigrated to Israel last year, an unprecedented number for that community, according to Israel's quasi-governmental Jewish Agency.

Moshe Sebbag, rabbi of Paris' Grand Synagogue, told Israel's Army Radio he believed that figure could double this year.

The prospect of increased immigration from France was largely welcomed in the Israeli media. But some commentators noted newcomers would have to contend with Israel's own vulnerability to attacks.

 

Last Mod: 11 Ocak 2015, 16:33
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