Netanyahu Finally Decides to Attend Paris Mass Rally in Wake of Attacks

After first saying security reasons are preventing him from attending, Netanyahu decides to go after all, along with Lieberman and Bennett.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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File photo showing French President François Hollande (right) with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, shortly after Hollande arrived at Ben-Gurion airport for his first official state visit to Israel.
File photo showing French President François Hollande (right) with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, shortly after Hollande arrived at Ben-Gurion airport for his first official state visit to Israel.Credit: Reuters
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will, after considerable wavering, join world leaders in a mass rally in Paris in the wake of last week's deadly attacks, officials in the Prime Minister's Office said on Saturday.

Earlier, an official in Netanyahu's office said security reasons make the PM's attendance in the rally impossible: "The option was examined, but due to the difficulty of securing Israel's prime minister at an event that includes marching on the street (especially on short notice), it appears it won't be possible," the official said.

Later, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced he would attend the rally. Shortly after, officials in the Prime Minister's Office said the possibility of Netanyahu traveling to France is still being examined.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who also acts as minister for diaspora affairs, also announced that he would attend.

Finally, it was announced that Netanyahu will travel to Paris on Sunday morning, and will head back to Israel on Monday.

Netanyahu canceled his attendance at a different event in Paris on Tuesday, planned by the Jewish community in the wake of the attacks in the city, in which 17 people were killed by Islamist terrorists in attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine's offices and on a kosher supermarket.

Netanyahu and French President Francois Hollande talked on the phone on Friday. The French president notified Netanyahu that four hostages were killed in the terror attack in the Paris supermarket, and that 15 hostages were released alive. Netanyahu requested Hollande to step up security around Jewish institutions, even after things go back to normal.

The leaders of Britain, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Ukraine, among others, said they would attend the rally, to be held on Sunday in Paris, AFP reports.

Arab League representatives and some Muslim African leaders as well as Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will also attend.

French President Francois Hollande called on French citizens to take part in the rally: " I call all French men and women to rise on Sunday ... we will come out of this even stronger," Hollande said in his address to the nation from the Elysees Palace. Hollande said all the state's citizens, regardless of political stance or ethnicity, are invited.

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