'Now Europe understands what Israelis live through'

Norwegian immigration minister tells Israelis that recent terror wave in Europe shows Europeans the Islamist terrorism Israelis deal with.

Gary Willig ,

terror attack in Paris
terror attack in Paris

In 2015, Norway accepted approximately 30,000 immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East. Only 1,000 Muslim immigrants have entered Norway so far in 2017.

The dramatic decrease in immigration is the result of the immigration policies of Norwegian Minister of Migration and Integration Sylvi Listhaug.

Minister Listhaug, a member of the Norwegian Progress Party, explained her policies in an interview with Israeli news site Ynet. She referred to the recent terror wave across Europe.

"We are now experiencing the fear that you have been experiencing in Israel for decades, and now many people understand the situation you live in. We see what is happening in Sweden, Britain and France," Listhaug told her Israeli interviewers. "European countries and their residents need to understand the situation in Israel better because of the terrorist attacks in Israel."

She said that the Progress party, which serves in the government with the Conservative Party, is very supportive of the State of Israel.

"The Progress party has always been a supporter of Israel's need to defend themselves in a region where you are the only democracy. That does not mean that we support everything you do, but that you have the right to defend your people and your borders because you live in a region that has a lot of problems," she said.

She praised the steps Israel has taken to secure its border with Egypt and to prevent illegal infiltration through the southern border. "Israel is doing a good job, Israel is the only democracy in the region, and it's difficult."

Listhaug spoke about the recent controversy over Danish Minister of Immigration, Integration and Housing Inger Stojberg's posting of a cartoon of the Islamic prophet Mohamed with a bomb in his turban on her Ipad. She said that while she does not agree with Stojberg's cartoon, her Danish counterpart has the right to freedom of expression.

"People were murdered for expressing opinions, such as in the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, whose offices Islamist terrorists attacked in January, 2015.

Turning back to immigration, she said that the extreme right has increased in popularity in Germany because the country has taken in so many refugees and migrants from Muslim countries, even when the German people were clearly against the country's open immigration policies.

"People were stressed that the parties had not taken measures" such as the measures Norway has taken since she became Migration and Absorption Minister in 2015. "Therefore, it is important that everyone takes this matter seriously."