Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his vow to make immigration easier for Jews in the wake of the twin attacks in Copenhagen on Saturday.
Documentary filmmaker Finn Noergaard, 55, was killed at a cafe where Lars Vilks, a cartoonist who has depicted Muhammad, was speaking at a forum on free speech. Dan Uzan, 37, a longtime security guard at a Copenhagen synagogue, was outside a bar mitzvah when was was shot dead later in the day.
The suspect in both attacks, Omar El-Hussein, 22, was killed in a shootout with police before dawn.
“Extremist Islamic terrorism has struck Europe again, this time in Denmark. We send our condolences to the Danish people and to the Jewish community in Denmark,” Netanyahu said at the start of today’s cabinet meeting. “Jews have been murdered again on European soil only because they were Jews and this wave of terrorist attacks – including murderous anti-Semitic attacks – is expected to 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,'” he said, a similar welcome extended to Jews after the attack on the kosher supermarket in Paris.
Netanyahu today submitted to his cabinet “a NIS 180 million plan to encourage the absorption of immigrants from France, Belgium and Ukraine.”
“We will submit additional plans later,” he said. “To the Jews of Europe and to the Jews of the world I say that Israel is waiting for you with open arms.”
Denmark’s chief rabbi, Yair Melchior, said he was “disappointed” by Netanyahu’s response.
“People from Denmark move to Israel because they love Israel, because of Zionism. But not because of terrorism,” the rabbi said. “If the way we deal with terror is to run somewhere else, we should all run to a deserted island.”
In 2012, Israel’s ambassador to Denmark advised travelers “to wait to don their skullcaps until they enter the building and not to wear them in the street, irrespective of whether the areas they are visiting are seen as being safe,” as well as not to “speak Hebrew loudly” or openly wear Star of David jewelry.
Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said Sunday the country had “tasted the ugly taste of fear and powerlessness that terror would like to create.” Her selfie partner, President Obama, did not have comment beyond what the National Security Council spokeswoman said Saturday. He was out on the golf course in Palm Springs again today.
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, who was interviewed between the first and second attacks for a segment aired today, referenced this week’s upcoming White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, which was announced by the administration’s after January’s Paris attacks.
“We obviously made clear that we abhor this and will not let these kind of attacks stand,” McDonough said. “We are scheduling a summit late in the week, a three-day summit at the State Department, on countering violent extremism because we know that AQAP, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has plans to do things like this around the world. We want to make sure that we are staying one step ahead of them.”
Vilks was on a 2013 wanted poster in AQAP’s Inspire magazine.
Secretary of State John Kerry didn’t have any direct comment on the attacks; press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that the U.S. “condemns the terrorist attacks that took place over the weekend in Copenhagen, Denmark.”
“The first attack on Saturday was against a meeting to discuss art, religion, and free speech. The second, early Sunday morning, was against a synagogue. Our deepest condolences go out to the family of the victims who were killed, and our thoughts are with the security officials injured in these terror attacks,” Psaki said.
“We remain in communication with Danish authorities and have offered to be of assistance in any way needed. The people of the United States stand united with the people of Denmark and all others who defend the universal right of freedom of speech and stand against anti-Semitism and bigotry in all its forms.”
The victims Dan Uzan and Finn Noergaard:
— Vibe Voetmann (@VibeVoetmann) February 15, 2015
— Kristin Grøntoft (@KristinGrontoft) February 15, 2015
And the killer:
Photo of the suspected perpetrator behind this weekend two shots attacks. the 22 year old Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein pic.twitter.com/dyIltwX8La
— Issa (@issa_kobani) February 15, 2015