Netanyahu urges European Jews to emigrate to Israel

The situation for Europe's 1.4 million Jews hasn't reached the panic stage - yet. But recent attacks in Paris and Copenhagen underscores a dilemma for European Jewry; at what point does the threat become so bad, that it becomes impossible to live a normal life?

The Copenhagen attack illustrates this point. Both attack sites were heavily guarded by Danish police. The synagogue that was attacked had its own security people in addition to the police presence. Is this how Jews in Europe are expected to live? 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is calling on European Jews to emigrate to Israel. He made the same invitation following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris last month. The Israeli government has put up nearly $40 million in resettlement monies to absorb the new arrivals.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday urged European Jews to move to Israel after a Jewish man was killed in an attack outside Copenhagen's main synagogue.

"Israel is your home. We are preparing and calling for the absorption of mass immigration from Europe," Netanyahu said in a statement, repeating a similar call after attacks by jihadists in Paris last month when four Jews were among the dead.

Two police officers were also wounded in Sunday's attack in Copenhagen, one of two fatal shootings in the normally peaceful Danish capital on the weekend.

In the first attack on Saturday, a 55-year-old man was killed at a panel discussion about Islam and free speech attended by a Swedish cartoonist behind controversial caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

"Extremist Islamic terrorism has struck Europe again... Jews have been murdered again on European soil only because they were Jews," Netanyahu said in the statement.

The Israeli prime minister said his government was to adopt a $45 million (39.5 million euro) plan "to encourage the absorption of immigrants from France, Belgium and Ukraine".

"To the Jews of Europe and to the Jews of the world I say that Israel is waiting for you with open arms," Netanyahu said.

The anti-Semitism in Europe that everyone agrees is on the rise took another turn on Saturday when 500 graves were vandalized in a Jewish cemetery in eastern France.with swastikas  Cemeteries and synagogues are frequent targets of vandals - much like they were in Europe in the lead up to World War II.

European Jewry has been on the decline for decades, according to Pew Research:

In 1939, there were 16.6 million Jews worldwide, and a majority of them – 9.5 million, or 57% – lived in Europe, according to DellaPergola’s estimates. By the end of World War II, in 1945, the Jewish population of Europe had shrunk to 3.8 million, or 35% of the world’s 11 million Jews. About 6 million European Jews were killed during the Holocaust, according to common estimates.

Since then, the global Jewish population – estimated by Pew Research at 14 million as of 2010 – has risen, but it is still smaller than it was before the Holocaust. And in the decades since 1945, the Jewish population in Europe has continued to decline. In 1960, it was about 3.2 million; by 1991, it fell to 2 million, according to DellaPergola’s estimates. Now, there are about 1.4 million Jews in Europe – just 10% of the world’s Jewish population, and 0.2% of Europe’s total population.

Some might accuse Netanyahu of electioneering with this call for an exodus of European Jews to Israel. And since we're all grown ups here, we can say that is almost certainly part it. But Netanyahu and most Israelis are also passionate about protecting Jews from the ravages of anti-Semitism world wide. And the best way to accomplish that is to invite Jews in danger to seek the protection of Israel.

Good politics - and common sense.


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