Chief rabbi in Denmark ‘disappointed’ with Netanyahu comments

Israel prime minister called on Jews to migrate to Israel following Copenhagen attack

Denmark's ambassador to Israel and the Danish chief rabbi have criticised the call by Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the country's Jews to move to Israel following the fatal shooting at Copenhagen's Krystalgade synagogue.

Mr Netanyahu warned that the incident, in which a Jewish security guard was killed, will not mark the end of terror attacks against European Jews.

"Once again Jews are murdered on the soil of Europe just for being Jews. This wave of terror attacks is expected to continue, including these murderous anti-Semitic attacks."

He called on Danish Jews to move to Israel.


“Obviously Jews deserve protection in every country, but we say to the Jews, to our brothers and sisters: ‘Israel is your home,’” he told cabinet ministers.

"We are preparing for a wave of mass aliya [Jewish immigration] from Europe; we are calling for a wave of mass aliya from Europe. I want to tell all the Jews of Europe, and Jews wherever they may be: Israel is the home of every Jew . . . Israel awaits you with open arms."

However, Copenhagen’s ambassador to Israel, Jesper Vahr, insisted that Jewish citizens were an integral part of the country’s society and should remain in the country.

"The solution for the Jews of Denmark is not to leave in the wake of the terror attacks in Copenhagen," he said. "Our prime minister said that an attack on the Jewish community is an attack on all of Denmark's citizens. I echo this sentiment. We will do everything in our power so that the Jewish community in Denmark feels safe."

Jair Melchior, Denmark’s chief rabbi, said he was “disappointed” by Mr Netanyahu’s call for the Jewish community to immigrate to Israel.

“Terror is not a reason to move to Israel,” he said. “People from Denmark move to Israel because they love Israel, because of Zionism. But not because of terrorism. If the way we deal with terror is to run somewhere else, we should all run to a deserted island.”

Mr Netanyahu's call for European Jews to move to Israel came as the government approved a €40 million package to encourage Jewish immigration from France, Belgium and Ukraine.

Last month, Israel’s minister of housing Uri Ariel said he wanted new immigrants from France, expected to arrive in record numbers this year, to live in West Bank settlements.

Mark Weiss

Mark Weiss

Mark Weiss is a contributor to The Irish Times based in Jerusalem