Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said Denmark would not be the same without its Jewish community. She was reacting to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls for European Jews to move to Israel after a Jewish man was shot and killed in an attack over the weekend outside Copenhagen’s main synagogue.
“The Jewish community have been in this country for centuries, they belong in Denmark, they are part of the Danish community and we wouldn’t be the same without the Jewish community in Denmark, said Thorning-Schmidt at a news conference on Monday afternoon. “So everyone can do what they want but that is my message to the Jewish community and they know how I feel about that.”
To the Jews of Europe and to the Jews of the world I say 'Israel is the home of every Jew, Israel is waiting for you with open arms'.— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) February 15, 2015
“Israel is your home. We are preparing and calling for the absorption of mass immigration from Europe,” Netanyahu said in a statement, repeating a similar call after attacks by jihadists in Paris last month when four Jews were among the dead.
Netanyahu, who will seek a fourth term as prime minister in March 17 elections, has received sharp criticism for his statement.
“He wants to rid Europe of its Jews, not out of concern for their safety but because calling for them to emigrate fulfills his own short-term domestic political goals,” said French student Ido Vock in a Facebook post.
“He is not concerned about the Jews of Denmark, France or Britain, he is concerned election polls in Israel show a possibility of his two decade long reign coming to an end,” Vock added.
Danish police on Monday charged two people with aiding the man suspected of shooting dead two people in twin terror attacks in the Danish capital over the weekend.
“The two men are suspected of helping the perpetrator by giving him advice and assistance in connection with the shootings at Krudttøndenre and Krystalgade,” police said in a statement on Monday, referring to the locations of the attacks.
A Copenhagen judge later remanded the two suspects to 10-days detention.
The perpetrator tried to force his was into a cafe where artist Lars Vilks was discussing free speech.
Vilks has received death threats for depicting the Prophet Mohammed in an manner deemed to be offensive but was unharmed in the shooting.
Ten hours later, in a move compared to last month’s Paris attacks, the suspect killed the Jewish man outside the synagogue.
Danish media have widely reported the gunman to be Omar Abdel Hamed El-Hussein, a 22-year-old Dane, well known to police for gang-related crimes. Hussein was recently released from prison after serving a sentence for stabbing a 19-year-old man in an apparently unprovoked attack.
Respected news broadcaster TV2 said El-Hussein’s parents were Palestinian refugees who came to Denmark after living in Jordan for several years.
TV2 obtained a psychiatric assessment of El-Hussein conducted in connection with the assault case for which he was imprisoned in which he told psychologists he had a happy childhood and good relations with his parents and a younger brother. However, he did not graduate from school, was unable to get into a university and later was homeless.
Citing two unnamed friends, Politiken daily newspaper said the man was passionate in discussions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and had a short fuse. They expressed shock that he should launch such attacks, however.
Memorial services will be staged across several cities on Monday evening and flags were flying at half mast.