(SOURCE) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday visited the kosher supermarket in eastern Paris where four Jews were killed by an Islamist gunman who stormed the store last week, warning that attacks could grow worse.
Arriving to the cries of “Bibi, Bibi” — his nickname — and under massive security protection, Netanyahu paid tribute to victims at the site, and was accompanied by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.
Speaking to the press there, Netanyahu called on European leaders to support Israel in its own fight against terror, likely a reference to European criticism of Israel regarding its conflict with the Palestinians.
“A direct line leads between the attacks of extremist Islam around the world to the attack that took place here at a kosher supermarket in the heart of Paris,” he said. “I expect all of the leaders, with whom we marched in the streets of Paris yesterday, to fight terrorism wherever it is, also when it is directed against Israel and Jews.”
The prime minister also warned that the terror threat would grow.
““The terror strikes that we have experienced here will grow to dimensions people do not yet understand, and this is why I hope Europe will unite, I hope it will wake up in time,” he said. “Israel supports Europe in its fight against terrorism and it’s time Europe supported Israel in the same fight.”
Referencing his attendance at a march a day earlier, where he was one of dozens of world leaders who rallied along with millions others, Netanyahu defended his move to shoulder himself into the first row of leaders, alongside French president Fancois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“Insofar as it depends on me, I will always see to it that Israel marches in the first row of nations vis-à-vis its security and its future,” he said.
In a visit with French Jewish leaders before his tour of the site of the attack, Netanyahu said he hoped the Paris terror attacks would lend European support to Israeli efforts to combat terror.
“If the world does not unite now against terrorism, the blows that terrorism has struck here will increase in a magnitude that can scarcely be conceived; therefore, I hope that Europe will unite. I hope that it will also take action,” Netanyahu said.
“Israel supports Europe in the struggle against terrorism and the time has come for Europe to support Israel in the exact same struggle,” he said.
The prime minister also described his address at the Paris synagogue on Sunday evening as “emotional,” and “a moment of genuine Jewish solidarity.”
“The visit to Paris was also a moment of general solidarity with humanity,” Netanyahu added.
Netanyahu arrived in Paris for Sunday’s mass rally in commemoration of the 17 victims of the Paris terror attacks at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and HyperCacher market, as well as the shooting death of a policewoman. Netanyahu later gave an address in Hebrew at the Grand Synagogue in Paris where he thanked France for its “very firm position” against anti-Semitism.
“Our common enemy is radical, extremist Islam — not normal Islam,” Netanyahu said in an address at the Grand Synagogue in Paris, after briefly joining other world leaders in a mammoth march against extremism through the capital that drew up to 1.6 million people.
Netanyahu called on Europe and the rest of the world to support Israel’s fight against terror.
“Israel is today at Europe’s side, but I would like Europe to be on Israel’s side too,” Netanyahu said.
“Those who killed and massacred Jews in a synagogue recently in Israel and those who killed Jews and journalists in Paris are part of the same global terror movement,” he added, referring to a deadly November attack at a synagogue in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof.
“We must condemn them in the same way, we must fight them in the same way.”
The prime minister asserted that the danger imposed by global terror had the potential of deteriorating into a serious threat to all humankind if radicals were to achieve nuclear capabilities. He then demanded of world powers to thwart Iranian nuclear aspirations.
“We cannot let Iran achieve nuclear capabilities,” he said. “Israel stands with Europe, and Europe must stand with Israel [on this issue].”
Netanyahu went on to once again extend an invitation to French Jews to emigrate to Israel, just a day after he said the Jewish state was their home.
“Jews have the right to live wherever they want,” the prime minister said. “But Jews these days have an opportunity that did not exist in the past, to live freely in the only Jewish state, the State of Israel.”
“Any Jew who chooses to come to Israel will be greeted with open arms and an open heart, it is not a foreign nation, and hopefully they and you will one day come to Israel,” he said.
“Am Israel chai! Am Israel chai!,” Netanyahu concluded. The crowd loudly repeated his final remarks. Some could be heard chanting Netanyahu’s name.
JTA contributed to this report.