Israel Reacts to the Terrorist Attacks in London

PM Sharon and FM Shalom expressed Israel's solidarity with the people of Britain immediately following Thursday's terrorist attacks in London. Finance Minister Netanyahu was in London at the time.

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Nissan Ratzlav-Katz and IsraelNN Staff, | updated: 10:42

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon telephoned British Ambassador to Israel Simon McDonald yesterday and asked him to convey the shock of the Israeli government to British Prime Minister Tony Blair over the "awful crime that was committed against innocent Britons." Prime Minister Sharon also said that at such moments, all of Israel expresses solidarity with the residents of Great Britain, feels their pain, and sends condolences to the families of those killed and best wishes for a quick recovery to those who were injured.

The prime minister also said that the entire world must unite in the war against terrorism, the purpose of which is to murder innocent people.

Speaking on Voice of Israel Radio yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said, "We are speaking about a very severe blow to London, to Britain. At these moments, all of us are together with them."

Foreign Minister Shalom also commented in his interview, "It should always be recalled that we have been saying for many years, to our great sorrow, that people have always thought that terrorism is only Israel's problem. We have said that ultimately, terrorism can strike any country in the world that has an ideology of freedom, democracy, and openness. They will always try to attack in order to bring about a situation where those countries will not follow the path of openness."

The first of four terrorist blasts in the British capital struck not far from a hotel where Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was to deliver a lecture to a gathering of London-based investors and economic leaders. The lecture was to be followed by a series of individual meetings between Mr. Netanyahu and British businessmen. The meetings were, naturally, suspended. Israeli security officers ordered all Israeli VIPs and government employees to return to and remain in their hotel rooms or in the Israeli Embassy in the wake of the attacks.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry's "Crisis Center", set up immediately following the attacks in London (tel. no. 02-530-3155), received thousands of phone calls from concerned relatives and friends of Israelis - and even non-Israeli Jews - currently in the United Kingdom. According to Yossi Alfasi, who directs the Crisis Center in Jerusalem, there are still 120 Israelis in London who have yet to contact their families here in Israel. Alfasi is optimistic that during the course of the day, that number will be reduced significantly, adding that the 120 is what remains of 2,600 requests handled by the ministry. Alfasi noted that Israeli diplomatic officials visiting hospitals following the terror attacks did not learn of Israelis listed among the injured victims.

The Jewish Agency in London reported that it has no information on Jewish victims of the UK terrorist attacks. The Jewish Agency's 24-hour Information Center based in Jerusalem provided special phone hook up to England to assist immigrants to Israel and students from Great Britain in reaching their families. The Center is handling special requests related to the terror attack from Jews around the world. The number for the Jewish Agency's Information Center is: +972-2-6202202.

Ironically, a group of 21 Israelis who were victims, or relatives of victims, of Arab terrorism in Israel were on a trip to London that was meant to be a relaxing group vacation. The trip, which formally ended Thursday night, was sponsored by the One Family Fund, established to support victims of Arab terrorism in Israel, and by the Jewish community of London.

In London, bus service resumes today, but some schools will remain closed due to transportation problems. More than 50 people are currently estimated to have been murdered in the multi-pronged Islamist terror attack on the British capital, while the confirmed toll as of this morning was 37.

From the Arutz-7 Radio Archives

Sadly, terrorist attacks such as those in London were predicted beforehand. Chen Keinan, who lost her daughter and mother in a May, 2002 Arab terror attack in Petach Tikva, described the last gruesome sight she had of her baby daughter. In an interview with CNN, she then addressed the European audience warning of the unfortunate possibility of such a tragedy.
Hear excerpts from her dramatic interview.
"We [Israel] are the canary in the coal mine. We are dying now. We are slaughtered on a daily basis. But you're next buddies, because I understand that you have a lot of Muslim minorities and that's OK. Everybody should live wherever he wants. But, you are appeasing terrorism! And you hope that if you tolerate it, and try to understand its motives, and you give it reasons, whatever they are… Do not tolerate murder…, not for oil, and not because you are scared. Because, the more fear you show, the faster it's going to be on your doorstep - and then, G-d help you, because you gave it legitimacy."