after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon urged Jewish people in France to rush to the Promised Land and escape what he called "the wildest anti-Semitism," news reports said Thursday, July 29.
They were welcomed at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport by Sharon and other officials and received a rose and a flag from Israeli officials. The prime minister used the occasion to try to overcome tensions with the French government, which froze plans to arrange a visit by Sharon until he explained his remarks.
Addressing the new arrivals he praised what he called the "determined action of the French government, as well as the French president’s stance against anti-Semitism." Adding to his concern were news reports Wednesday, July 28, detailing the desecration of dozens of graves in a Jewish cemetery north of Strasbourg with Swastikas, Stars of David and ‘666’ signs.
Similar attacks have been reported elsewhere in Europe, including Hugary, which was a close ally of Nazi Germany during World War Two when about 600,000 Hungarian Jews were massacred. In Paris the French Broadcasting Authorities began implementing government recommendations, to ban Hizb’Allah’s al-Manar satellite television programs, “due to their anti-Semitic content," the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) reported.
Although al-Manar is "the official mouthpiece of the Syrian-backed terrorist network", tv officials have criticized the sanctions as an act against the principles of liberty of France, the ICEJ News Service and the French News Agency (AFP) reported.
Anti-Semitic attacks have continued to rise in France over the last three years, "the majority perpetrated by (individuals of) the large North African Muslim minority –which at over 1 million, is also the largest EU national Islamic bloc," said the ICEJ, which helps Jewish people with their migration to Israel.
At Wednesday’s Airport welcoming ceremony, Sharon was careful to express appreciation for “the determined actions of the French government,” to combat anti-Semitism, calling the stand of French President Jacques Chirac “an example to other countries,” the well informed ICEJ News Service said.
JEWS IN HOMELAND
"Jews must come to Israel not because of hatred or fear,” he stressed. “Jews must immigrate because it is their homeland." However those who arrive face an uncertain future, amid fresh reports of clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen.
The Voice of America (VOA) said an Israeli missile strike on a car in the southern Gaza Strip killed a Palestinian militant leader and a member of his group. Israeli officials confirmed the missile strike Thursday, July 29, near the city of Rafah, VOA said, quoting international news reports.
The dead reportedly included Amr Abu Sitta, the leader of the Abu Reish Brigades – an extreme offshoot of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement, which Israeli officials say is the faction responsible for numerous "anti-Israeli attacks." Earlier, the Israeli military claimed two Palestinians were killed when an explosive device they were planting accidentally blew up in the Gaza Strip, VOA said.
In the West Bank, Israeli soldiers reportedly shot and killed a Palestinian man early Thursday, July 29. The Israeli military was quoted as saying that soldiers opened fire after coming under attack while arresting Palestinian suspects near Nablus.
The United States and other countries have urged Israel and the Palestinian Authority to discuss the Roadmap for Peace, a Western backed peace process that would eventually give Palestinians an own state.