29 May 2014, The Tablet

Anti-Semitic murders in heart of Brussels

Pope Francis has strongly condemned the shootings at a Jewish Museum in Brussels on Saturday, in which an Israeli couple from Tel Aviv and a French woman were killed, and a Belgian national working at the museum was critically injured.

In his arrival address at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport on Sunday, the Pope said he was deeply saddened by this “brutal” and “criminal attack of anti-Semitic hatred” and offered his prayers for the victims and wounded. The authorities are hunting the suspect, believed to have acted alone, who was caught on CCTV as he entered the building, opened fire and left. Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo said all Belgians were “united and show solidarity in the face of this odious attack on a Jewish cultural site”.

The president of the European Jewish Congress, Moshe Kantor, described the attack as “horrific but not surprising” and urged action by European governments to tackle extremism and hate speech. “Attacks on Jewish targets in Europe do not exist in a vacuum, but are part and parcel of an overall climate of hate and incitement against Jewish communities,” he said. “Anti-Semitism begins in the public domain, it gains international legitimacy and becomes normative even in our national parliaments, but it always ends in killing Jews.”

In neighbouring France, two Jewish men were assaulted late on Saturday as they were leaving a synagogue in Creteil, outside Paris, the French Interior Ministry said on Sunday. Two men were involved in the assault.

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