Daily Israel Report

Belgian Jewish Leader: 'There's a Certain Panic' After Shooting

Raphael Werner comes to Israel for funeral of Israelis shot in Brussels, says Europe needs to do more to fight anti-Semitism.
By Yoni Kempinski, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 5/28/2014, 7:47 AM

Raphael Werner, President of the Belgian FORUM der Joodse Organisaties (Forum of Jewish Organizations, FJO), came to Israel on Tuesday to accompany the bodies of Miriam and Emmanuel Riva, the two Israelis murdered brutally on Saturday in Brussels.

A suspect was reportedly arrested Tuesday in the horrific shooting that left four dead at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. Arutz Sheva got the chance to speak to Werner about the murder and its effects on the Belgian Jewish community.

"There's a certain panic, especially when you see all these police around schools, synagogues," reported Werner, discussing the mood and the increased security following the shooting.

Werner noted "on one side it's very good, it should be done, but it gives you a certain very bad sensation that you have to be protected in a free country, and still after what happened in the Holocaust that we have to be protected."

Speaking about the details of the case, Werner remarked "we were invited Sunday by the prime minister, the minister of justice, the minister of the interior, the police, and they really don't know" who the shooter was or what the motives were.

The one clearly known conclusion derived from the horrific incident according to Werner is the need to fight anti-Semitism in Europe. Aside from the tightened security, he called on European official to fight anti-Semitism in websites and newspapers, saying "we feel they don't do enough about it."

At the funeral on Tuesday, Shira and Ayelet, the two daughters of the Rivas, eulogized their parents. 

"There were so many things that I wanted to show you," said Ayelet. "How I would direct a school, have a family, and most of all grow up. I love you. It's hard to forget your laughs, your souls, your love."

The Belgian Ambassador to Israel, John Cornet, was also present at the funeral, and promised his country "would save no means to catch the horrible murderer. This is a day of mourning for both our countries, which we share."