Danish Jews reject Netanyahu's call to move to Israel

Published: February 16, 2015
People put flowers to honour the shooting victims outside the main Synagogue of Copenhagen on February 16, 2015, after last week-end two fatal attacks. PHOTO: AFP

People put flowers to honour the shooting victims outside the main Synagogue of Copenhagen on February 16, 2015, after last week-end two fatal attacks. PHOTO: AFP

COPENHAGEN: Danish Jews on Monday turned down an offer by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to emigrate to Israel following a deadly weekend attack on a synagogue in Copenhagen.

“We’re very grateful for Netanyahu’s concern but having said that, we are Danish — we’re Danish Jews but we’re Danish — and it won’t be terror that makes us go to Israel,” said a spokesperson for the Jewish Community in Denmark, Jeppe Juhl.

“So we understand his concern for our well-being, and we value his concern but we are Danish and we’re staying in Denmark. If we move to Israel it’s for other reasons,” he told AFP.

‘We wouldn’t be the same without the Jewish community’

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt advised Danish Jews not to emigrate Monday despite a call from her Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu for European Jews to move to Israel.

“The Jewish community has been in this country for centuries. They belong in Denmark, they are part of the Danish community and we wouldn’t be the same without the Jewish community in Denmark,” she told reporters the day after a 37-year-old Jewish man was shot dead when guarding Copenhagen’s main synagogue.

Netanyahu on Sunday urged European Jews to move to Israel after a Jewish man was killed outside Copenhagen’s main synagogue in one of two attacks in the city at the weekend.

“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 militants in Paris last month that killed 17 people including four Jews.

Danish intelligence said the gunman who opened fire outside the synagogue and a cultural centre may have been inspired by last month’s Paris attacks.

Two policemen who were injured outside the synagogue had been posted there after community leaders contacted authorities following Saturday’s shooting at the community centre that left one person dead.

Around 8,000 Jews live in Denmark, most of them in Copenhagen and with smaller communities in the cities of Aarhus and Odense, according to the Jewish Community of Denmark.

During the Gaza conflict in August, Copenhagen’s Jewish school, Carolineskolen, had its windows smashed and anti-Jewish graffiti spray-painted on its walls.

The incident took place shortly after a rise in anti-Semitic crimes in Denmark prompted politicians to organise a “kippah march” in Copenhagen in support of Jewish people’s right to display their religion openly.

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Reader Comments (2)

  • John
    Feb 16, 2015 - 9:53PM

    Israel is preparing for mass immigration. It has been for the past 70 years.
    If you immigrate to Israel you will be given a house, a job and probably even more.
    Israel is building settlements as fast as it can on land of the would-be Palestinian state, and illegaly according to international law. It pays 100 Euro per day to settlers to enter and occupy settlements in E. Jerusalem. Once you have received that you will close an eye to the human rights abuses that occur on a daily basis right beside your house.

    This is the sad model that has been proposed since the creation of Israel. To take advantage of other countries’ misfortunes, such as the Soviet Union collapse, hunger in Ethiopia, economic collapse in Argentina and now the war in Ukraine and handy terrorism in Europe to bring in batches of Jews to outnumber the indigenous Palestinian population, to which it refuses any legal refugee rights.

    Luckily the Danes know better. But how sad for the State of Israel.Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Feb 16, 2015 - 11:51PM

    There is no reason for the European jews to leave their home lands be it Denmark or France or Germany and migrate to Israel where Natanyahoo Government has set up an apatheid regime preparing its people for Massada. The European history and its culture as well as its music and intellectual life reflects the Jewish influence. Mr Natanyahoo could help curb the rise of antisemite in Europe by following a liberal course and seeking accomodation with the palestinian folks.

    Rex MinorRecommend

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