Let Jews carry guns for self-protection, leading rabbi urges EU

The biggest Jewish association in the EU has called on lawmakers in Brussels to let Jewish people carry guns “for the essential protection of their communities” in the aftermath of Paris shootings.

“The Paris attacks, as well as the many challenges and threats which have been presented to the European Jewish community in recent years, have revealed the urgent need to stop talking and start acting,” saysa letterwritten this week by Rabbi Menachem Margolin, general director of the European Jewish Association (EJA), the biggest federation of Jewish organizations all over Europe.

The EJA said the four Jews killed in the Paris grocery store during last week’s attacks in France “were murdered in cold blood for no other reason than being Jewish.”

READ MORE: 4 hostages, 3 gunmen killed as Charlie Hebdo hunt ends in France

“We hereby ask that gun licensing laws are reviewed with immediate effect to allow designated people in the Jewish communities and institutions to own weapons for the essential protection of their communities.”

A French soldier secures the access to a Jewish institution in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Western Paris, as part of the highest level of "Vigipirate" security plan after last week's attacks, January 13, 2015.(Reuters / Charles Platiau)

The association also asked the EU authorities to allow the Jewish population to receive “the necessary training to protect their members from potential terror attacks.”

“Let there be no doubt, we are asking that all weapons will be issued for self-protection only, and to designated personnel that will undergo thorough investigation and training by local authorities.”

The letter calls on Brussels to recognize “the warning signs of anti-Semitism, racism, and intolerance that once again threaten Europe and our European ideals.”

“As you know, the danger is that much greater as many Europeans travel abroad to be indoctrinated into radical Islam, before returning to their European homelands to use their militant training to devastating effect.”

Margolin told RT that “there are too many Jewish people who feel insecure in Europe.”

“There are too many parents who don’t feel comfortable…to bring their child to the Jewish school because they are not sure if the child would come back in the evening alive. There are too many parents who are afraid to come to the synagogue.”

That’s why the Jewish community is demanding that European governments “make sure that the entire Jewish institution in Europe will be completely secure,” he said.

“What I am asking is that the good people, those who live under danger, will be able to protect their life. Otherwise we might be again in the situation and we won’t be surprised if another time an attack against a Jewish institution is going to happen, people will be dead without any possibility to protect their life.”

On Friday, Jewish schools in the Belgian cities of Brussels and Antwerp decided to cancel classes over terror threats.

READ MORE: EU anti-terror alert: 2 suspects killed, 1 captured in Belgium raid

“We were informed that we are a potential target and therefore we are taking no chances,” Isi Morsel, head teacher of Belgium’s largest Jewish school, Jesode Hatora, told AFP.

Reuters / Toby Melville

‘EU needs anti-Semitism body’

A delegation from the European Jewish Congress (EJC) spoke to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Wednesday, calling on Brussels to create a pan-European body to combat anti-Semitism.

“Now more than ever, the European Union needs to create a position and organization specifically geared toward finding long-lasting solutions for anti-Semitism and other forms of racism,” EJC president Dr. Moshe Kantor said.

Kantor added that it is “incumbent on the European Union to urgently place combating anti-Semitism as one of its highest priorities because this is a hatred that transcends borders and cannot be dealt with by any single nation on its own.”

One of the countries that has attracted thousands of Jews over the last two years is the UK. However, according to a YouGov poll, commissioned by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA), Britons are not so tolerant toward the Jewish population, as about 45 percent of Britons hold anti-Semitic views.

READ MORE: Rising anti-Semitism? One in eight Brits think Jews use Holocaust to get sympathy

Following Charlie Hebdo attacks, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu invited Jews from France and the rest of Europe to immigrate to the state of Israel, referring to what he sees as a “rising tide of anti-Semitism” there.

READ MORE: Netanyahu to French Jews: ‘Come home to Israel from terrible European anti-Semitism’

At least 7,000 Jews immigrated to Israel last year, fearing anti-Semitism in the EU. Israelis officials expect a new influx of immigrants following the Paris attacks.

"On Monday I am going to make Aliyah [the term meaning the immigration of Jews from the diaspora to Israel]," Yohan Cohen, one of the hostages who hid inside a freezer at the kosher grocery store in Paris told AP. "We are not going to wait around here to die."