Netanyahu: Israel the Only Place Jews Can Feel Safe

Israeli prime minister ruffles feathers with his 'massive immigration' call
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2015 7:03 AM CST
Netanyahu: Israel the Only Place Jews Can Feel Safe
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly Cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office, Feb. 8, 2015.   (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, Pool)

The deadly Copenhagen shootings over the weekend, including an attack outside the city's main synagogue, have spurred Benjamin Netanyahu to make some drastic statements. During yesterday's Cabinet meeting—in which a $46 million plan to handle Jewish immigrants from France, Belgium, and Ukraine was approved, Haaretz reports—the Israeli PM issued a "massive immigration" call to Europe's Jews, telling them they'll be safest in Israel. "This wave of attacks is expected to continue," Netanyahu said, per the AP. "Jews deserve security in every country, but we say to our Jewish brothers and sisters, Israel is your home." Jair Melchior, Copenhagen's head rabbi, says he's "disappointed" in Netanyahu's remarks, telling the AP, "People from Denmark move to Israel because they love Israel, because of Zionism—but not because of terrorism. If the way we deal with terror is to run somewhere else, we should all run to a deserted island."

France has been losing its Jewish residents in droves, especially after a 2012 attack on a Jewish school and last month's attack on a kosher grocery store in Paris, the AP notes; about 7,000 French Jews left the country last year, more than twice 2013's number, the agency adds. This exodus is likely helped along by Netanyahu's eagerness to fund the "Law of Return," which Haaretz explains as "all Jewish immigrants to Israel [being] entitled to a package of financial benefits." "To the Jews of Europe and to the Jews of the world, I say that Israel is waiting for you with open arms," Netanyahu said in a statement, per AFP. Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who visited the synagogue yesterday, agrees with Melchior that Denmark is a place that Jews can call home. "They belong in Denmark, they are a strong part of our community, and we will do everything we can to protect the Jewish community in our country," she said, per the AP. (Read more Benjamin Netanyahu stories.)

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