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Prime minister and Jewish community of Belgium express their shock over terror attack that killed 4 at Jewish museum

By Mason White 1:28 PM May 26, 2014
Scene of the incident 

By: Anav Silverman
(Scroll down for video) The prime minister of Belgium, said that he is shocked over the terror attack at the Jewish museum, the Tazpit News Agency reported.

Following the deadly shooting attack at the Jewish museum in Brussels, that left a Tel Aviv couple and two museum employees dead, Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday afternoon.

The prime minister phoned to update Netanyahu on the details of the investigation into the Brussels attack, while expressing shock over the murders including the Tel Aviv husband and wife, Mira and Emmanuel Riva, who have left behind two teenage daughters.

Di Rupo condemned the manifestations of anti-Semitism and sent his condolences to the families of the victims. “It is in everyone’s mind. In Belgium we are not accustomed to such acts of barbarity,” Di Rupo said.

Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked his Belgian counterpart for the call and offered to cooperate with the investigation. “As of now, you are the only European leader who has called me on this issue. I am very disturbed by the growing anti-Semitism in Europe. There must be zero tolerance for anti-Semitism toward Jews and their state,” Netanyahu said.

Maurice Sosnowski, President of the Coordination Center of Jewish organizations in Belgium, said in a Daily Mail report that this attack, if confirmed, would be the “worst anti-Jewish attack in Brussels since the Second World War.” The last attack against a Jewish target in Belgium, took place more than 30 years ago in 1982, when a gunman opened fire at the entrance of a Brussels synagogue.

According to eyewitnesses, the shooter targeted museum visitors, firing bullets into their faces and necks. Belgium is home to 40,000 Jews, with about 20,000 living in Brussels and the other remaining half in Antwerp.

The cantor of a local Brussels synagogue told the Tazpit News Agency that despite the shooting, Jewish congregants came to prayers services as usual on Saturday evening. “There was a debate with security guards whether to cancel services, but we held prayers as usual,” Shimon Klein said.

“I’m a religious man and I don’t hide my kippa here. I believe that anything can happen anywhere so I continue with life as usual,” he added.

However, Klein said that the attack left others in the Jewish community including his wife feeling apprehensive. The President of the Belgian League against Anti-Semitism, Joel Rubinfeld, stated that such an attack did not surprise him because of the “climate of hate.”

“This kind of attack was in the air,” he told the Financial Times. Over the past few years, we’ve allowed anti-Semitic speech to run loose. It’s this violent language that has armed the terrorists’ guns.”