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May 27, 2014 4:22 pm

Rome Jewish Museum Stays Open to Midnight After Brussels Slayings – ‘We Are Not Afraid’

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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The former Great Synagogue of Rome, now the city's Jewish Museum. Photo: WikiCommons.

The former Great Synagogue of Rome, now the city's Jewish Museum. Photo: WikiCommons.

Leading Italian political and cultural figures lined up at Rome’s Jewish Museum, which opened its doors to midnight on Monday to accommodate the thousands who wanted to express solidarity with the Jewish Museum of Brussels after four people, including two Israelis, were shot and killed by a lone gunman on Saturday.

Riccardo Pacifici, president of Rome’s Jewish community, said, “It’s time to show these rogues, these murderers, that we are not afraid, they do not intimidate us. We will march together and take them to jail,” according to Italy’s Il Messagero newspaper on Monday.

The newspaper reported that “many, many people” were in line at the museum, which is part of Rome’s Great Synagogue, looking down onto the old Jewish ghetto. “Youth, seniors, families and children, all waiting to learn the traditions of the Jewish culture and send a message of solidarity with the victims of Brussels,” the newspaper said.

One of Italy’s political parties sent white flowers that were on display “to be fraternally close to the Jewish community,” according to the accompanying card.

Belgian Ambassador Martens Vincent de Wilmars and Israeli Ambassador Naor Gilon were at the museum and were seen with Rome’s Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni.

Among other political figures who came to show their support, the newspaper identified the president of the Lazio Region, who spoke at the event, the City of Rome’s commissioner of public works, and the vice-president of the Senate.

Nicola Zingaretti, President of Lazio, said, “We find ourselves in a place of culture to give a firm answer against hatred, violence, ignorance and contempt towards the other.”

“Culture is also knowledge and respect for others,” he said. “This initiative is also launching another message: no one be deceived, in any corner of Europe or the world in which someone is hit, humiliated, hurt or killed as a victim of ignorance, racism or anti-Semitism, they will bring upon themselves the eyes of the world.”

The news was flagged on Twitter by Marco Sermoneta, former Israeli Ambassador in the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean.

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  • Otto Waldmann

    It is , indeed, magnificent to see these decent, wonderful Italians, the keepers of culture, show their support.
    Just as real is the fact that the palestinian strategy of attacking Israel on all fronts is, once again, extended throughout the world, reminding all and sundry what sort of “people” we are dealing with. And the same ones demand that they are given the honorable status of a legitimate State !!!!I don’t wish it on anyone, but there is always a chance that someone close to the advocates for the palestinian cause would feel the wrath of hate the same way Jews do…

  • Sue Deutsch

    This is good news. I wish it would be repeated in other European countries.

    • No Jew should feel afraid in the World let alone within Europe. That said, all Jews must be aware that they are a target of extremism. But We Catholic/Christians must stand alongside their Religious Cousins and not allow for the fear of assault or attack to become acceptable to anyone!

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