Jerusalem, Jan 12 (IANS) About 1,000 Israelis held a rally in Jerusalem Sunday to condemn the terror attacks in France last week and express solidarity with a grieving Paris.
The Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, denounced the attacks, and said that they were “an assault on all of us — the Jewish people, the freedom of press and the freedom of speech”, according to a Xinhua report.
He addressed France’s Jewish community and said: “Today we are all, the Jews of France. Jerusalem is Charlie.”
The rally, which took place at the Jerusalem municipality building, was attended by the chief rabbi of the Jerusalem Shlomo, Moshe Amar and leaders of the French Jewish community.
The Jerusalem rally came ahead of a massive rally in Paris attended by top world leaders and French citizens to protest against terrorism and racism, after 17 people were killed during three days of terror strikes in France last week.
According to one of the organisers of the Paris rally, about 1.5 million people participated.
World leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Matteo Renzi of Italy, Mariano Rajoy of Spain, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu took part in the march.
The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement condemning the attacks by Islamist militants and urged France’s Jews to immigrate to Israel.
“Islamic terrorism is threatening all of humanity,” Netanyahu said. “Any Jew who wants to immigrate to Israel will be received here with open arms,” he added.
According to official figures, France is the leading source of immigration to Israel as of 2014, with more than 4,500 French Jews moving to Israel in 2014, which was the highest in 25 years.
On Wednesday, brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi stormed into the Paris-based office of the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, and shot dead 12 people, including 10 journalists and two policemen.
An apparent associate of the Kouachi brothers, Amedy Coulibaly, killed a French policewoman in Montrouge, a densely populated area of Paris, Thursday and held people hostage in a Jewish grocery store in southern Paris Friday.
Coulibaly was killed Friday, as were the Kouachi brothers. Four hostages also died at the Jewish grocery store.