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Belgian PM and Jewish Community Respond to Attack

Belgium Jewish Museum

Belgium Jewish Museum
Photo Credit: Google Earth

Following the deadly shooting attack at the Jewish museum in Brussels that left a Tel Aviv couple and a museum volunteer dead and another employee critically injured yesterday, Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday afternoon.

The Belgian Prime Minister phoned to update Netanyahu on the details of the investigation into the Brussels attack, while expressing shock over the murders including the Tel Aviv husband and wife, Mira and Emmanuel Riva, who have left behind two teenage daughters.

Di Rupo condemned the manifestations of anti-Semitism and sent his condolences to the families of the victims.

“It is in everyone’s mind. In Belgium we are not accustomed to such acts of barbarity,” Di Rupo said earlier in the day.

Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked his Belgian counterpart for the call and offered to cooperate with the investigation. “As of now, you are the only European leader who has called me on this issue. I am very disturbed by the growing anti-Semitism in Europe. There must be zero tolerance for anti-Semitism toward Jews and their state,” Netanyahu said.

Maurice Sosnowski, President of the Coordination Center of Jewish organizations in Belgium said in a Daily Mail report that this attack, if confirmed, would be the “worst anti-Jewish attack in Brussels since the Second World War.” The last attack against a Jewish target in Belgium took place more than 30 years ago in 1982 when a gunman opened fire at the entrance of a Brussels synagogue.

Belgium police have not been able to identify the gunman, who was well-prepared for the attack and is believed to have been assisted by an accomplice driver. According to eye-witnesses, the shooter targeted museum visitors, firing bullets into their faces and necks.

Belgium is home to 40,000 Jews, with about 20,000 living in Brussels and the other remaining half in Antwerp.

The cantor of a local Brussels synagogue told Tazpit News Agency that despite the shooting, Jewish congregants came to prayers services as usual on Saturday evening. “There was a debate with security whether to cancel services but we held prayers as usual,” Shimon Klein told Tazpit. “I’m a religious man and I don’t hide my kippa here. I believe that anything can happen anywhere so I continue with life as usual.”

But the attack Klein said left others in the Jewish community including his wife feeling apprehensive.

The President of the Belgian League against Anti-Semitism, Joel Rubinfeld, stated that such an attack did not surprise him because of the “climate of hate.” “This kind of attack was in the air,” he told the Financial Times. Over the past few years, we’ve allowed anti-Semitic speech to run loose; it’s this violent language that has armed the terrorists’ guns.”

About the Author: Anav Silverman is a regular contributor to Tazpit News Agency.


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6 Responses to “Belgian PM and Jewish Community Respond to Attack”

  1. Whoopie twang. They have allowed anti Semitism to flourish!

  2. Whatever u did, it is NOT ENOUGH! Shame on you!!

  3. Whatever u did, it is NOT ENOUGH! Shame on you!!

  4. I lived and worked in Belgium. It is a country divided and its peoples resentful and eternally complaining. When things go wrong it is always someone else's fault. It is an artificial State created for all the wrong reasons and with built in constitutional instability. On the brighter side it is a beautiful country rich in history and architecture. Arguably it has the best cuisine in Western Europe and the finest beers and wines on offer, so who cares about the other problems (I'm being flippant). Anti-semitism is endemic but a symptom of the underlying tensions. Oh, I forgot to say that I had a great girl-friend from Braaschaat and as a Jew enjoyed the greatest hospitality from her Catholic Flemish family. So who can generalize? I was a member of the Tennis and Riding club and encountered no social problems. Belgium is what it is, an enigma.

  5. Millie Kashuk says:

    SO SO SAD……WHEN WILL THE WORLD WAKE UP TO THE ANTI
    SEMITC RAGE GOING ON IN THE WORLD….IT SEEMS EVERYONE
    IS ANGRY AT THE JEWS…..I DO NOT UNDERSTAND AND WE MUST FIND A WAY TO STOP THIS AGGRESION……..

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