Bibi’s Paris Speech in Context

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu came to Paris, France in January 2015 to show his support for free speech and to confront anti-Semitism in the wake of terror attacks at the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a kosher supermarket. He addressed a large Jewish audience at the Grand Synagogue where he invited the Jews to make aliyah – to move to Israel.netanyahu paris shul

“Any Jew who chooses to come to Israel will be greeted with open arms and an open heart, it is not a foreign nation, and hopefully they and you will one day come to Israel.”

Many people criticized his statement including, not surprisingly, his Israeli political opponents during an election season.  The French were also unhappy with the call to move to Israel. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that “if 100,000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France. The French Republic will be judged a failure.”
French President Francois Hollande made a similar statement a few days later: “French people of the Jewish faith, your place is here, in your home. France is your country.

It is right and proper that the leaders of France seek to assure the country’s Jewish citizens that France is their home and they should not flee the country from fear.  But to berate Netanyahu for his remarks does not take into account the climate in which the invitation to move to the Jewish State was made.

Consider that Netanyahu did not come to France and invite the French Jews after attacks targeting their community in 2012 or 2006. But he felt that the situation for Jews in Europe had deteriorated significantly throughout 2014 which compelled him to invite the largest Jewish population in Europe, with an estimated 500,000 people, to move to Israel:

In summary, the year before the Paris shootings was a cascade of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish activities in Europe.  The year 2014 began with Netanyahu releasing terrorists to push forward a peace initiative (of which he was very skeptical) at the urging of the USA and Europe.  It proved meaningless to the peace process and world opinion; Israel and Jews in Europe were attacked throughout the year, first by Palestinians and then by Europeans.

For Netanyahu, the prior twelve months had:

  1. Israel release prisoners, including Palestinian murderers of Israeli civilians, at the direct urging of allies
  2. Their Palestinian counter-party break peace talks by joining with Hamas and international organizations
  3. A summer in which: three teenagers were abducted and murdered; Israel located an extensive Hamas tunnel network from Gaza into Israel to launch attacks; Israel combated thousands of incoming missiles from Gaza. Yet Israel was still criticized by Europe and the global community for defensive actions
  4. European cities launch multiple riots against Jews
  5. European countries reward the Palestinians with admission to more world bodies and votes of endorsement
  6. The European Union remove Hamas from its terrorist list

For Netanyahu – and many Jews – the year in Europe echoed back 75 years to a period in which the continent nearly annihilated its Jewish citizens.  It was bad enough that Israelis contend with Palestinian Arabs that are more extreme than the Nazis of the 1930s.  But that Europeans embraced this ideaology was truly frightening, particularly as it stood in contrast to values they claimed to support.

In 1939, at the early stages of the Holocaust, Britain drafted the White Paper at the behest of Arabs in the Middle East, which limited Jewish immigration to Palestine at the outset of the Holocaust – a move which likely killed over 100,000 Jews – despite the specific mandate to facilitate the immigration of Jews to their homeland.

In 2015, the Prime Minister of Israel heard the calls to kill Jews, and made clear that a world with an established Jewish State will not allow a repeat of the European Holocaust.


Related First One Through articles:

Europe hurting the peace process: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2015/01/02/failing-negotiation-102-europe/

Europe penalizing Israel even though Palestinians are the reluctant peace partner: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/european-narrative-over-facts/

Jews continue to move out of Europe to Israel and the US music video (Diana Ross): https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/the-loss-of-jews-in-europe-continues/

Ignoring Jihad only when it comes to Israel: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2015/01/26/radical-jihadists-in-europe-and-dislocated-and-alienated-palestinians-in-Israel/

 

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Changing the Israeli Knesset

The Israeli government is heading for another change. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the firing of two cabinet members and lawmakers voted for the effective dissolution of the current legislature.

The last Israeli elections held in January 2013 brought several changes to Israeli politics:

  • Likud combined with the Yisrael Beitenu party to win a collective 31 seats (21 for Likud and 11 for Israel Bietenu)
  • A new party, Yesh Atid, headed by Yair Lapid won 19 seats
  • Bayit Yehudi, headed by Naftali Bennett, continued to grow in strength, up to 12 seats
  • The Shas party was excluded from the government for the first time since 2006
  • The ruling coalition deliberately excluded the ultra-orthodox (Haredi) parties as they attempted to force changes in their participation in community service or military draft

The main factors that motivated the Israeli public was the economy, which was viewed as leaving too many people behind. As such, it was the first election in Israeli history that did not focus on security or a peace process. The Arab Spring enveloping the Middle East, and the inability of acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas to reign in Hamas and manage Gaza, made the possibility of a resolution with Palestinian Arabs seem remote.

 

The new elections are called for March 17, 2015. Current polls suggest that Likud would win 22 seats (up from 20), Yesh Atid winning 9 seats (down from 19), Jewish Home would win 17 seats (up from 12), making for a more-right leaning coalition.

Enjoy the FirstOneThrough music video with music by David Bowie: The Changed Israeli Knesset.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMPQqkR_D04


Sources:

Netanyahu poll: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-02/netanyahu-to-call-early-israel-vote-fire-ministers.html