Sharansky: Europe Must Be as Concerned as We Are

On his way to attend mass rally in Paris, Natan Sharansky shares his thoughts on Jews' security in Europe and immigration to Israel.

Hezki Baruch, Paris ,

Natan Sharansky
Natan Sharansky
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharanky flew to France Sunday morning in order to participate in the mass rally, to be held later in the day, against global terrorism. 

He will join Israeli representatives - Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett and MK Eli Yishai - as well as a host of other world leaders. 

In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Sharansky expressed deep concern over the situation of Jews in France. 

"I am very concerned about the situation of the Jews in Europe and I think European leaders need to be as concerned as we are." 

"There is great danger to the safety of Jews in France," Sharansky continued. "France handles terrorism particularly [in each individual case] but it needs to handle it strategically - especially in educational institutions."

"A whole generation grew up here in France with hatred against Jews and Israel. That is a real and extreme danger," Sharansky added.

Evidence of this can be seen by the rise of anti-Semitism in France, and the increasing number of violent incidents against Jews. 

In addition to Friday's horrific attack, since violent protests against Operation Protective Edge erupted over the summer, there have been months of tension and terror for the Jews of France. 

Recently, at the beginning of December there was a shocking robbery and rape attack committed against a young Jewish couple in Paris, which led French politicians to condemn the steep rise of anti-Semitism.

Weeks later, automatic gunfire was sprayed at the David Ben Ichay synagogue on Paris's 3 Danjon Street. Similar incidents occurred against a kosher restaurant as well as a Jewish-owned print shop shortly thereafter.

It is for incidents like these, Sharansky stresses, that European countries need to change their policy.  

"You can put a soldier or a policeman in any synagogue, but as to long term, European leaders must make a drastic strategic change to their policy," he said. 

"I believe the people of Israel is an eternal people, but I also believe in the eternity of freedom that belongs to the entire world," Sharansky added. 

According to the Jewish Agency Chairman, "the Jewish communities in Europe, and particularly in France, must take responsibility for their own security, while the French government must provide more security to the Jews living in its country." 

On the subject of immigration, which many government leaders have been pushing, Sharansky said it is Israel's responsibility to connect with all Jews - even those who decide not to come. 

"We always call for Jews to make aliyah and try to give them the feeling that Israel is the home of every Jew. But we also have to understand those who decide not to make aliyah and to keep in contact with them." 

"The State of Israel must also reduce barriers to immigration, build more absorption center, and do everything in its power so that the absorption process to Israel will be smooth for every Jew who wants to immigrate to Israel," Sharansky concluded.