After Denmark Attacks, Hollande Vows to Defend Jewish Community's Place in Europe

French leader says won't let people believe Jews have no place in Europe.

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France’s President Francois Hollande salutes the French flag as part of his visit to a public center for insertion of the Defense (EPIDE) in Montry, northeastern Monday, Feb. 16, 2015.
France’s President Francois Hollande salutes the French flag as part of his visit to a public center for insertion of the Defense (EPIDE) in Montry, northeastern Monday, Feb. 16, 2015.Credit: AP

French President Francois Hollande vowed on Monday to defend the Jewish community against attacks, following calls from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a mass immigration of Jews to Israel following recent deadly attacks on Jewish targets in Europemost recently, Denmark.

Hollande said he would not allow people to believe that "Jews no longer have a place in Europe" after this weekend's deadly shooting at a Copenhagen synagogue and the desecration of hundreds of graves at a Jewish cemetery in eastern France.

European Jews were already on edge after the killings in January at a kosher market in Paris and a shooting at a Belgian Jewish museum last year.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls also said Monday that the government would defend French Jews, saying that every person who leaves "is a piece of France that is gone."

Netanyahu issued his call for immigration hours after the attacks in the Danish capital, telling ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem: "Jews were killed on European land just because they were Jewish. This wave of attacks will continue. I say to the Jews of Europe – Israel is your home."

The Israeli premier's call for immigration was similar to the one he made to French Jews last month following the string of shooting attacks in Paris, in which 17 people were killed, including four at a kosher supermarket.

Denmark's chief rabbi on Sunday said he was "disappointed" by Netanyahu's call on European Jewry to move to Israel, following the double shootings in the Danish capital.

"Terror is not a reason to move to Israel," said Rabbi Jair Melchior.

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