An Israeli couple were among four dead on Saturday when a lone gunman opened fire in front of a Jewish museum in Brussels, Belgium.
The couple was later identified as Emmanuel and Mira Riva of Tel Aviv. The Riva’s, who were in Brussels on an organized tour, leave behind two teenage daughters.
The other two victims were an employee and a volunteer at the Jewish museum. Police continue to hunt for the gunman and a suspected accomplice who was driving the get-away car.
Israeli President Shimon Peres called leaders of the Belgian Jewish community to express Israel’s solidarity. Peres later urged European leaders to recognize Saturday’s shooting for what it is - a vile act of anti-Semitism.
Members of the Belgian Jewish community said the situation is rapidly becoming unbearable.
“Anti-Semitism has grown. We see it on TV, in the media and in our newspapers,” Betty Dan, director of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in Belgium, told Israel’s Walla! News. “We feel that our children have no future in Europe. It’s not like 20 years ago. There is always security around us. You cannot go out with a yarmulke or a Star of David freely.”
In a statement issued just hours after the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there is a very clear reason for the current rise in anti-Semitism.
“This act of murder is the result of constant incitement against Jews and their state,” Netanyahu said. “Slander and lies against the State of Israel continue to be heard on European soil even as the crimes against humanity and acts of murder being perpetrated in our region are systematically ignored.”
At Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Netanyahu slammed European Union hypocrisy when it comes to violence against Jews and Israelis.
“There are European officials who are quick to condemn any construction of an apartment in Jerusalem, but do not rush to denounce or condemn the murder of Jews here or in Europe itself - and even worse, also welcome unions with a terrorist like Hamas, who calls for Israel’s destruction,” said the prime minister.