Photo Credit: Miriam Alster / Flash 90
The Tel Aviv municipality building seen lit up to depict the Spanish flag, in solidarity with Spain, following the terror attack in Barcelona, where 13 people were killed and many more injured when a man drove his truck into a crowd of people. August 17, 2017

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spent Thursday night in a Situation Center at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs swallowing coffee and listening to briefings by Director-General Yuval Rotem and the Israeli Embassy staff in Barcelona after a terrorist ramming attack left 13 people dead and more than 100 others injured.

“Israel strongly condemns the terrorist attack in Barcelona,” Netanyahu said in a statement late Thursday night. “On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I send condolences to the families of those who were killed and wishes for a quick recovery to the injured. This evening we again saw that terror strikes everywhere; the civilized world must fight it together in order to defeat it.”


Barcelona Chief Rabbi Meir Bar-Hen, told Israel’s Channel 2 television news in a telephone interview on Thursday night that police told him the terror attack was not directed at Jews. He added that he was canceling community activities and going to the attack scene to see if his help was needed.

Contary to police reassurances, however, Jewish Agency spokesperson Avi Mayer tweeted a discovery he made on Facebook showing that one of the Barcelona attackers – Driss Oukabir, whose photo was released by Spanish National Police – had posted an anti-Semitic video on the social networking site alleging a global Jewish conspiracy to seize control over the world.

The video is titled, “What is Zionism? A Brief Introduction” and the post contains links to what seems to be a neo-Nazi YouTube page, Mayer wrote. However, the YouTube video is “not available” for viewing by internet users in Israel.

It’s not yet clear who else was involved in masterminding the attack, although the Islamic State terrorist organization took credit for the ramming, saying it was carried out by soldiers of the Islamic State “in response to calls for targeting coalition states.” That, however, is not the same as saying the men were trained by ISIS, or taking outright responsibility for the attack: a fine point, but an important one.

At least two suspects were arrested and a third man died, either by his own hand or shot during a shootout with police when he tried to ram a police vehicle at a roadblock set up about three kilometers from the site of the first attack.

Statements of support and solidarity poured in Thursday night from around the Jewish world, and especially from around Israel.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely tweeted, “I condemn this deplorable act of terror and senseless death and stand with #Spain with prayers for the fast recovery of the victims.”

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon tweeted solidarity in Spanish from the State of Israel to the people of Barcelona as well.

A statement in English followed: “Saddened & shocked by terrible scenes from #Barcelona. Israel stands by ppl of Barcelona at this difficult time. Terror will never prevail,” the Foreign Ministry tweeted.

Likewise, Tel Aviv’s city hall tweeted its support, and flashed the colors of the Spanish flag Thursday night from the building.

The World Jewish Congress wrote in a tweet, “#Barcelona, you are not alone. Terror won’t bring us down. May you find comfort from the pain and horror you are experiencing today.”

Overlaid upon a lovely photo of Barcelona were the words, “Terror will not prevail #Barcelona.” A prior tweet read, “A city of beauty turned into a city of pain. We stand in solidarity with the victims of the #Barcelona terrorist attack & their families.”

U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife both separately tweeted their support. The president posted a formal condemnation, adding the U.S. would do “whatever is necessary to help. Be tought & strong, we love you!” he wrote.

Statements of support were posted from leaders around Europe as well, including the head of the European Parliament, Germany, France and the UK.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.