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May 25, 2014 12:15 pm

Peres Following Brussels Slayings: ‘We Must Act Without Hesitation Against Any Form of Anti-Semitism’

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Israeli President Shimon Peres delivering a festive greeting for Nowruz, the Persian New Year, on March 20, 2014. Photo: Screenshot.

Israeli President Shimon Peres delivering a festive greeting for Nowruz, the Persian New Year, on March 20, 2014. Photo: Screenshot.

Israel’s President Shimon Peres on Sunday called upon European leaders to take action against anti-Semitism after four people were killed in a shooting Saturday at the Jewish Museum of Belgium.

“We must act without hesitation against any form of anti-Semitism. The leaders of Europe should lead the struggle against anti-Semitism, which is rearing its head across the continent,” the Israeli leader said.

Peres also spoke with Maurice Sosnowski, president of the CCOJB umbrella group, which represents French-speaking Belgian Jews, and expressed his condolences to members of the community affected by the shooting.

“We are with you in this difficult time. We share your sense of shock and profound sadness. If there is anything that we can do, please do not hesitate to contact me directly,” he said. “Our heart is with you, the families and the community. Please convey my condolences to the entire community.”

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Sosnowski told Peres that the museum was the only unprotected Jewish center, since it is not exclusively a Jewish community building, and was therefore an “easy target.” He called the shooting a pre-planned attack, saying,  “it wasn’t something that could be improvised.”

One suspect has reportedly been apprehended by Belgian authorities in the wake of the shooting but his connection to the crime is still undetermined, said a prosecution spokesperson, according to AFP.

Updating the president on the details of the attack, Sosnowski said the victims, two of which were Israelis, were shot at the entrance to the museum. “It seems that there were one or two shooters; the modus operandi reminds us of the shooting in Toulouse,” he added, referring to the 2012 slayings at a Jewish school in France.

Sosnowski added that there is a great deal of worry within the community in Belgium and across Europe.

“Security has been increased to the highest level at all Jewish centers. The local authorities are putting all efforts into solving this case,” he told Peres.

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