Austria: A Europe Without Jews is Not Europe

February 16, 2015  

​Austria on Monday joined in on the calls to local Jews to remain in the country, despite recent terrorist attacks in Europe.

Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said that “a Europe without Jews would not be Europe”, according to the AFP news agency.

Kurz’s remarks join those of other leaders in Europe who on Monday rejected calls from Israel on local Jews to make aliyah in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Copenhagen.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was reacting to a series of shootings at a synagogue and coffee shop in Copenhagen by Muslim gunman Omar El-Hussein, which left two people dead and several others wounded.

The Israeli prime minister noted the attacks – the second of which had targeted a Bat Mitzvah celebration – took place against a backdrop of rising anti-Semitism in Europe and only a month after the deadly Paris attacks, and called for European Jews to make aliyah.

“This wave of attacks will continue. Of course, Jews deserve protection in every country but we say to Jews, to our brothers and sisters: Israel is your home,” he said, echoing similar remarks he made after last month’s attacks in Paris, which included a deadly attack on a kosher supermarket.

However, some leaders in Europe rejected Netanyahu’s call, including Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who said Denmark’s Jews “belong in Denmark”.

“The Jewish community have been in this country for centuries. They belong in Denmark, they are part of the Danish community and we wouldn’t be the same without the Jewish community in Denmark,” she said.

“Everyone can do what they want but that is my message to the Jewish community and they know how I feel about that,” added Thorning-Schmidt.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a similar call later on Monday, saying Germany was “glad and also grateful” to have a Jewish community, when asked about Netanyahu’s renewed appeal.

The German government and other officials will do everything possible to ensure the safety of Jewish institutions and citizens in Germany, Merkel told reporters after Sunday’s election in the northern city-state of Hamburg.

“We’d like to go on living well together with the Jews who are in Germany today,” she added.

Meanwhile, French President Francois Hollande said on Monday that Jews were welcome in Europe and France, while his Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he “regretted” Netanyahu’s remarks.

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