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Sharansky: We'll Help European Jews Defend Themselves

Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky promised to provide help for the community in Belgium after Saturday's attack.
By Yosef Berger
First Publish: 5/25/2014, 9:37 PM

Natan Sharansky
Natan Sharansky
Flash 90

Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky on Sunday expressed his condolences to the families of those who lost loved ones in the attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels Saturday. “I am deeply distressed by yesterday's horrifying attacks against Jewish targets in Brussels and Paris,” said Sharansky. “We at The Jewish Agency for Israel are investing considerable sums in helping Jewish communities across Europe—including in Belgium and France—provide for their physical security.”

A fourth person died Sunday, after three – two of them Israeli citizens – were killed when a gunman attacked the Jewish Museum in the center of Brussels on Saturday. Later Saturday, authorities announced that a suspect has been arrested. 

The attack comes on the eve of elections in Belgium for a new federal government as well as for its regional parliaments and the European Parliament. In his first response upon hearing of the attack Saturday night, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that the attack was the result of incitement against Israel.

Sharansky agreed with the assessment. Despite the assistance the Jewish Agency is prepared to render, “nothing will help so long as Europe's political and intellectual leadership refrains from declaring all-out war against the demonization of the Jewish state,” Sharansky said. “While Jews as individuals are no longer demonized in Europe as they were in previous centuries, the demonization of Israel—the collective Jew—continues to rise to new heights, creating a toxic atmosphere in which Jews live in fear and those who target them flourish.

“When Israel is singled out for condemnation and scorn, even as crimes against humanity and genuine humanitarian catastrophes rage throughout the Middle East and around the world, the message to those seeking a pretext to harm Jews is clear. Until Europe declares war on the demonization of Israel, no security measure will help,” Sharansky added.