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Jewish Agency Sends Delegation to Brussels in Show of Support

Sharansky lights memorial candle in Brussels, commits to help Jewish community continue normal life after shooting attack.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 5/30/2014, 2:13 PM

Natan Sharansky, center, with Jewish community leaders at scene of Brussels shooting
Natan Sharansky, center, with Jewish community leaders at scene of Brussels shooting
Keren Hayesod-UIA

Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky visited Brussels Thursday, in a solidarity visit to the local Jewish community after Saturday's horrific shooting attack that left four dead.

Sharansky met with Jewish community members and communal leaders and heard their concerns following the attack. Several European Jewish leaders, as well as Sharansky, have voiced strong criticism over what many perceive to be the EU's lackluster handling of the investigation - and have called for permanent protection for the Belgian Jewish community. 

Sharansky meets with student leaders in the Brussels Jewish community Keren Hayesod-UIA

During his visit, Sharansky also visited the Jewish Museum where the shooting took place, where he was accompanied by Jewish community leaders and lit a memorial candle in memory of the victims of Saturday's attack.

Natan Sharansky lights memorial candle at the scene of the shooting Keren Hayesod-UIA

"It was important to me to be with the Belgian Jewish community at this time, to strengthen their hands and be strengthened by their resilience," he said. "In the early days of our struggle in the Soviet Union, the Belgian Jewish community mobilized to host one of the largest gatherings in support of our freedom."

"Today I had the opportunity to express the solidarity of world Jewry with the Belgian Jewish community," he continued. "The Jewish Agency stands with the Jewish community of Belgium and will help ensure that Jewish life continues without interruption, assisting local Jewish institutions in addressing their security needs and connecting young Jews to their Jewish identity and to the State of Israel." 

Belgian news media reported on Tuesday that local police have arrested a suspect in the shooting incident, which has been called a "terrorist assassination" by the Belgian federal prosecutor.

The shooting killed three people and fatally wounded another. The victims included Tel Aviv natives Emmanuel and Miriam Riva.