Danish Jewish Leader Rejects Netanyahu’s Aliyah Call

A spokesman for the Danish Jewish community on Monday turned down an offer by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin 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 spokesman 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.

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt also weighed in on Netanyahu's calls in remarks on Monday.

"The Jewish community have 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 said.

Netanyahu was reacting Sunday to a series of shootings at a synagogue and coffee shop in Copenhagen by Muslim gunman Omar El-Hussein, which left two people dead and several others wounded.

The Israeli prime minister noted the attacks – the second of which had targeted a Bat Mitzvah celebration – took place against a backdrop of rising anti-Semitism in Europe and only a month after the deadly Paris attacks, and called for European Jews to make aliyah.

"This wave of attacks will continue. Of course, Jews deserve protection in every country but we say to Jews, to our brothers and sisters: Israel is your home.

"We are preparing and calling for the absorption of mass immigration from Europe. I would like to tell all European Jews and all Jews wherever they are: Israel is the home of every Jew."

The killings began at about 3:30 p.m. local time on Saturday, when El-Hussein attacked the Krudttønden cafe during a freedom of speech even featuring the controversial Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who has been in hiding ever since he depicted the founder of Islam Mohammed in cartoons.

Finn Nørgaard, 55, a film director who was attending the event, was reportedly shot dead at close range after he went outside for an unknown reason at the time the attacker struck.

At about 1 a.m., a 37-year-old Jewish man, Dan Uzan, was killed while guarding the synagogue in Krystalgade during a bat mitzvah celebration. Two police officers were also hit, but their injuries were not life-threatening.

El-Hussein was later shot dead in a firefight with police, and Danish intelligence said he may have been inspired by the Paris attacks, which followed the same sequence: first an attack on a symbol of free speech, and then an assault against the local Jewish community.

On Monday morning, two other suspects were arrested in a raid by police.

The men are believed to have helped "through advice and deeds the perpetrator in relation to the shootings at Krudttonden and in Krystalgade," police said.

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 organize a "kippah march" in Copenhagen in support of Jewish people's right to display their religion openly.

AFP contributed to this report.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/191405

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