Netanyahu: Our Common Enemy is Radical Islam

In a speech at Paris synagogue, PM Netanyahu calls on French Jews to make aliyah to Israel.

Ben Ariel,

Netanyahu at Grand Synagogue in Paris
Netanyahu at Grand Synagogue in Paris
Hezki Ezra

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he appreciated the "very firm position" taken by French leaders against "the new anti-Semitism and terrorism" in France.

"Our common enemy is radical, extremist Islam -- not normal Islam," Netanyahu said at the Grand Synagogue in Paris, after briefly joining other world leaders in a march against extremism through the capital that drew up to 1.6 million people, according to AFP.

"Israel is today at Europe's side, but I would like Europe to be on Israel's side too," Netanyahu said.

"Those who killed and massacred Jews in a synagogue recently in Israel and those who killed Jews and journalists in Paris are part of the same global terror movement," he added, referring to a November attack in Jerusalem.

"We must condemn them in the same way, we must fight them in the same way."

“Although the various factions of Islamic extremism are involved in their own local bloody conflicts, including among themselves, they are all driven from the same ambition: to impose a dark despotic regime on the world, to take humanity a thousand years backward. They trample anyone who does not share their beliefs, and at the top of the list are their fellow Muslims, but their greatest hatred is reserved for Western culture, the same culture that respects freedom, equal rights, all the things they so despise,” said Netanyahu.

“Therefore, it is no coincidence that radical Islam has been seeking to destroy Israel since its inception - because Israel is the only Western democracy in the Middle East, because Israel is the only place where Christians, women and minorities are truly safe, the only place which respects human rights in general.

“Well, here's another truth: radical Islam does not hate the West because of Israel. It hates Israel because it is an organic part of the West. It sees Israel, and rightly so, as an island of democracy, justice and Western tolerance in a sea of fanaticism and violence that it wants to impose on the Middle East, Europe and the world,” continued Netanyahu.

Israel, he stressed, is attacked “because of its very existence and essence. But not only we are being attacked. Look around you: the whole world is under attack, the whole world. The World Trade Center in New York, the subways in London and Madrid, tourists in Bali, school children in Russia and Pakistan, a hotel in Mumbai, a shopping mall in Nairobi.”

Netanyahu once again extended an invitation to French Jews to make aliyah to Israel, just a day after he said the country was their "home."

“Each and every Jew who wants to move to Israel will be accepted by us with open arms and with a warm heart and desire,” he promised. “They will not come to a foreign country, they will to the land of our fathers.”

France's large Jewish community is increasingly on edge after a series of anti-Semitic incidents including Friday's hostage-taking at the supermarket in eastern Paris.

Even before last week’s deadly attacks, France had seen a sharp rise in anti-Semitism in recent years, and it flared particularly in 2014 and during Operation Protective Edge, with violent protests in Paris.

Figures cited by the SPCJ, a French-Jewish security watchdog, show that the number of anti-Semitic incidents rose by 91 percent in the first seven months of 2014 compared with the same period a year earlier.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has sought to reassure his country's half-million strong Jewish community, saying during a visit to the Paris area where the supermarket siege took place that "France without the Jews of France is not France."

In Sunday’s speech, Netanyahu also thanked Lassana Bathily, the Muslim employee of the Jewish supermarket who saved several hostages during Friday’s jihadist attack by hiding them in the supermarket’s freezer.


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