Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas both departed for Paris on Sunday to attend a scheduled massive rally against terrorism in the wake of a string of attacks last week that left 17 dead in the French capital.
Twelve people were slaughtered when two Muslim assassins attacked the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last Wednesday. A day later, a policewoman was shot on the streets of Paris, and on Friday four people were killed when a Muslim gunman took hostages at a local Jewish grocery store.
Tens of thousands attended anti-terrorism rallies in cities around France earlier in the weekend, and the Paris march was expected to garner the participation of one million people, including a number of foreign dignitaries and heads of state.
As Netanyahu departed, he told reporters, “I am off to Paris to attend the rally with world leaders in a renewed fight against the Islamic terror that threatens all of humanity. I have been calling for this for years.”
Ahead of the event, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls reminded everyone, “Journalists were killed because they defended freedom. Policemen were killed because they were protecting you. Jews were killed because they were Jewish.”
French President Francois Hollande stated plainly that his government views the attack on the Jewish shop as an act of anti-Semitism, and the Obama Administration backed up that assessment.
Netanyahu said that in light of the situation in France, Jews there and in the rest of Europe should consider “coming home to Israel. …Israel is not just the place in whose direction you pray, the state of Israel is your home.”