Netanyahu welcomes France`s 'very firm position' on anti-Semitism

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he appreciated the "very firm position" taken by French leaders against "the new anti-Semitism and terrorism" in France.

AFP| Updated: Jan 12, 2015, 03:12 AM IST

Paris: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he appreciated the "very firm position" taken by French leaders against "the new anti-Semitism and terrorism" in France.

He also thanked Lassana Bathily, the Muslim employee of a Jewish supermarket who saved several hostages during a jihadist attack on Friday.

"Our common enemy is radical, extremist Islam -- not normal Islam," Netanyahu said 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.

Four of the 17 fatalities in France`s three-day wave of violence were Jews killed in an attack on a kosher supermarket hours before the start of the Jewish Sabbath on Friday.

"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 November attack in Jerusalem.

"We must condemn them in the same way, we must fight them in the same way."

Netanyahu once again extended an invitation to French Jews to emigrate to Israel, just a day after he said the country was their "home."

France`s large Jewish community is increasingly on edge after a series of anti-Semitic incidents including Friday`s hostage-taking at the supermarket in eastern Paris.

Figures cited by the SPCJ, a French-Jewish security watchdog, show that the number of anti-Semitic incidents rose by 91 percent in the first seven months of 2014 compared with the same period a year earlier.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has sought to reassure his country`s half-million strong Jewish community, saying during a visit to the Paris area where the supermarket siege took place that "France without the Jews of France is not France."