Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is joining the world leaders scheduled to gather in Paris on Sunday in a show of public defiance against terrorists.
Netanyahu also issued a special statement to Jews in Europe, stressing that he’ll be convening a special team of ministers right away “to advance steps to increase immigration from France and other countries in Europe that are suffering from terrible anti-Semitism.”
He spoke with French President Francois Hollande after the siege on the kosher supermarket in which four people were murdered and 15 hostages rescued. He also spoke with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls about increased security at Jewish institutions and a broader strategy to strike back at Islamic extremism.
More than a million people are expected to pour into the streets of Paris tomorrow starting at 3 p.m. local time at the Place de la Republique. Victims’ relatives are expected to lead the march with government leaders behind them.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Renzi, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Jordan’s King Abdullah and Queen Rania, EU President Donald Tusk, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are among those expected to attend.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will be there, too.
“‘At this solemn moment of tragedy our hearts and minds are with you in the face of terrorism that has no religion,” Abbas said, according to the official Palestinian WAFA news agency. “The entire Palestinian people are pained by what has taken place.”
President Obama has nothing on his weekend schedule, and Vice President Joe Biden is in Wilmington, Del., with no events scheduled. Obama welcomes the San Antonio Spurs to the White House on Monday.
The administration sent Attorney General Eric Holder to Paris for anti-terror talks scheduled before the march. The Justice Department has not issued any statement about whether he’ll participate in the march as well. Holder is scheduled to appear on Sunday morning news shows, segments that he’d have to tape in advance if he wants to attend the rally.
Secretary of State John Kerry was meeting in Germany today with the sultan of Oman. “Certainly, he feels a special connection with the people of France,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Friday. “As we’ve noted in the schedule, we’ve announced he’ll be in India on Sunday, and that those travel plans have not changed.”
Netanyahu said he spoke by phone today with Celine Shreki, who was one of the hostages in the market.
“She told me about the terrorist’s inconceivable cruelty and of the heroism of the young Jewish man who attempted to seize his weapon and shoot him; he was shot by the terrorist and died about 45 minutes later,” he said.
The market victims were Yoav Hattab, Philippe Barham, Johan Cohen, and Francois-Michel Saada. Hattab was son of the Chief Rabbi of Tunis.
“The terrorist organizations of extremist Islam have many and varied names – Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic State, Al Qaida, Nusra, Islamic Jihad and Boko Haram. They are all motivated by the same bloody hatred and the same fanaticism that knows no borders. They want to take humanity 1,000 years backward to a dark tyranny that we freed ourselves from after many generations. They simply want to take humanity backward,” Netanyahu said in a statement tonight.
“Further proof that these organizations are branches of the same poisonous tree may be seen in the fact that one of Hamas’s official organs praised the reprehensible murderers in Paris. It must be understood that this is a war against us all.”
The prime minister warned that “if we ignore the true root of the problem, if we ignore the fact that extremist Islamic terrorism seeks to exterminate Western civilization as a whole, including the Jewish People, if we ignore this – what we are now seeing in Paris will be only the beginning.”
“These are not frightening words or prophecies of rage, this is the simple reality and the time has come to recognize it.”
Netanyahu stressed the necessity to strike at the sources of terrorist financing and at “the centers of incitement that encourage these murderous acts throughout Europe.”
He also sent a special message to French Jews and all European Jews: “The State of Israel is not just the place to which you turn in prayer. The State of Israel is also your home… All Jews who want to immigrate to Israel will be welcomed here warmly and with open arms. We will help you in your absorption here in our state that is also your state.”