Copenhagen shootings: European leaders reject Netanyahu's call for Jewish migration to Israel

Francois Hollande said it was wrong to infer that 'Jews no longer have a place in Europe'

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The Independent Online

European leaders have firmly rejected Benjamin Netanyahu’s call for the continent’s Jewish community to migrate to Israel in the wake of a spate of terror attacks.

Hundreds of Jewish graves were found vandalised in France on Sunday, hours after a Danish Jew guarding a synagogue in Copenhagen was shot dead.

Following the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Amedy Coulibaly deliberately targeted a Kosher supermarket to take hostages and a Jewish museum in Brussels and school in Toulouse have also been attacked.

The Israeli Prime Minister has called for the migration of European Jews several times in recent months, most recently at the weekend.

“Jews were killed on European land just because they were Jewish,” Mr Netanyahu said, claiming that “this wave of attacks will continue”.

“Jews deserve security in every country, but we say to our Jewish brothers and sisters, Israel is your home,” he added.

The call provoked anger among some rabbis and politicians.

Copenhagen's chief rabbi, Jair Melchior, said he was "disappointed" by the remarks, adding: “Terror is not a reason to move to Israel.”

The Danish Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, called on Jews to reject Mr Netanyahu’s offer.

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Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt arrives at the synagogue in Krystalgade in Copenhagen

“The Jewish community have been in this country for centuries,” she added.

“They belong in Denmark, they are part of the Danish community and we wouldn't be the same without the Jewish community in Denmark.”

A spokesperson for the Jewish Community in Denmark, Jeppe Juhl, echoed her sentiments.

“We’re very grateful for Netanyahu’s concern but having said that, we are Danish — we’re Danish Jews but we’re Danish — and it won’t be terror that makes us go to Israel,” he said according to AFP.

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Police forensic technicians examine bullet holes in the door to Krudttønden café in Copenhagen

The French President said that although Jewish people may have “doubts” and “questions”, there was no need to leave.

Francois Hollande will visit the desecrated Jewish cemetery in the small town of Sarre-Union on Tuesday, his office said. Of the 400 tombs in the Sarre-Union cemetery, 250 had been vandalised.

“I will not just let what was said in Israel pass, leading people to believe that Jews no longer have a place in Europe and in France in particular,” Mr Hollande said.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with French President Francois Hollande ahead of the Paris march in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo

His Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, said the government would defend French Jews against what he described as “Islamo-fascism.”

“A Jew who leaves France is a piece of France that is gone,” he told RTL radio.

Thousands of police and security forces are now protecting Jewish sites in France after the Paris terror attacks in January, and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve suggested that Mr Netanyahu could be taking advantage of the issue  in the run-up to the Israeli elections.

In 2014, more than 7,000 French Jews in a community estimated at around 500,000 left for Israel, more than double the number for 2013.

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People protest at the murder of French Jews during the Paris attacks

The Israeli Cabinet on Sunday approved a £30 million plan to encourage still more Jewish immigration from France, Belgium and Ukraine.

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said on Monday that that her government will do everything possible to make sure Jewish sites are secure.

“We are glad and thankful that there is Jewish life in Germany again,” she said in Berlin. “And we would like to continue living well together with the Jews who are in Germany today.”

Additional reporting by AP

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