Applause from around 200 people greeted Benjamin Netanyahu’s arrival on Monday morning outside the kosher supermarket of the Vincennes district in eastern Paris.
It was very important for us to make this visit ... to show solidarity with the people of France, with the government of France, but also the French Jewish community
The Israeli Prime Minister was shown the site of Friday’s hostage-taking and bloodshed, in homage to the four Jewish men who were killed. His bodyguards stayed close to him.
The visit lasted around ten minutes and was appreciated by local residents, one of whom told euronews: “It shows solidarity. He’s right to come. It’s reassuring to us. We know we have support. It’s heartwarming.”
“The most important thing is that everything is made safe. But that will only last for a while, anyway. I think the police are going to have to do their job very well, and get to the root of this, in the urban outskirts. It’s a cancer!”
The latter comment, made not far from a mound of flowers in memory of the victims, referred to fears about extremism and anti-Semitism.
Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told euronews: “It was very important for us to make this visit. First of all to show solidarity with the people of France, with the government of France, with the people of France, but also the French Jewish community which like all of France is also going through a difficult time.”
Regev added: “This is not a phenomenon of one or two countries. This is a global threat. And what is crucial is that we take what we saw yesterday, the march of solidarity between the leaders, and we transform that into concrete action, that governments act in a coordinated fashion, in a consistent way against these Islamic extremists who threaten everybody.”
French agency AFP reports that President François Hollande did not initially extend an invitation to Netanyahu to come to Paris for Sunday’s solidarity march, – nor to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – on political, protocol and security grounds of complexity. First they acquiesced, then came anyway.