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November 16, 2020 10:46 am

Terrorist Attacks Stark Reminder for European Jewry, Loud Alarm for General Society

avatar by Orit Arfa /

Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, President Alexander van der Bellen and President of Parliament Werner Sobotka attend a wreath-laying ceremony, after a gun attack in Vienna, Austria, Nov. 3, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Radovan Stoklasa. – As Austrians were making the most of their last night in restaurants, cafes and bars on Nov. 2 before the onset of a new lockdown, a 20-year-old Islamic terrorist fired at passersby in Vienna’s historic city center, killing four and injuring 23. Initial reports painted the target as Vienna’s city’s synagogue but, as it turned out, the synagogue might have been in the terrorist’s line of fire by happenstance.

Perhaps that’s symbolic. Threats to the European Jewish community and general society are now perceived as being intermingled, said community leaders. “We are all synagogues now,” might go the refrain, particularly in France, which on Oct. 16 suffered the brutal beheading of teacher Samuel Paty, who had shown students cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that were published in Charlie Hebdo, and then, two weeks later, the fatal stabbing of three at the Notre Dame church in Nice.

“We always knew we were in the same boat, but Christians are starting to understand that,” said Philippe Karsenty, a former French Jewish elected official credited with exposing the false attribution by French media of Palestinian youth Muhammed al-Dura’s death back in September 2000 by the Israel Defense Forces. That was at the start of the Second Intifada, which last five years and resulted in more than 1,000 Israeli deaths and about 3,000 Palestinian deaths.

“Remember, when the Jews started to be attacked 20 years ago, we said ‘after Saturday, Sunday.’ And now they’re starting to understand that it’s a civilization war.”

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