Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Having dealt with Islamic terror for decades, Israel expressed condolences to the French public following the massacre in Paris on Wednesday.

President Rivlin. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

President Reuven Rivlin. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The manhunt for two of three terrorists who massacred 12 civilians at Charlie Hebdo magazine headquarters in Paris on Wednesday continues. One of the assailants, Hamyd Mourad, 18, surrendered to police.

“The people of Israel send their condolences to the people of France over the brutal acts of savagery in the heart of Paris today,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated shortly after the attack.

Netanyahu stressed that the threat posed by Islamic terror was an international problem. “The attacks of radical Islam know no boundaries – these are international attacks and the response has to be international. The terrorists want to destroy our freedoms and our civilization. And therefore, all the free countries and all the civilized societies have to band together to fight this scourge.”

“If we stand together and if we are not divided, then we can defeat this tyranny that seeks to extinguish all our freedoms,” the prime minister stated.

In Israel, “we are experiencing these attacks time and again,” he added. “We know the pain but we also know the resolution with which free societies can defeat terror – however dreadful, however threatening.”

Israelis Familiar with ‘Horror and Grief’

President Reuven Rivlin sent French President Hollande a letter, and the two heads of state later spoke on the phone.

Rivlin repeated the call for international unity in the face of Muslim belligerence: “We all, throughout the free world, face the threat of terrorism and must stand united in the fight against those who seek to stifle free thought and continue to destroy the lives of so many. Sadly, I am no stranger to the horror and grief that follows such murderous attacks.

“We stand with France in its determination to safeguard freedom of speech and the freedom of the press, that are central pillars of any democracy,” Rivlin declared.

“I send my condolences to the French people and the French government. Israel shares France’s pain. Terrorism and terrorists must not be allowed to terrorize the free world, and the West must stand firmly united against this threat,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman stated.

One of the victims of the massacre was Jewish caricaturist Georges Wolinski, 80.

Wolinski, a native of Tunisia who moved to France as a teenager, was known for his cynical and, at times, vulgar style. After entering the field of journalism in the 1960s, he went on to work at leading French publications such as L’Humanite, Le Nouvel Observateur and Paris Match.

One of Wolinski’s cartoons, published in a 2002 compilation of his works, shows a Muslim girl walking with her mother down a war-ravaged street in the Middle East. The daughter asks what it means to be a free woman. The mother replies by presenting her daughter with a copy of a book titled “Hello Sadness,” JTA reports.

“It’s clear that this was a planned attack against Wolinski and the other cartoon artists,” JTA quotes Richard Kenigsman, a well-known Jewish caricaturist and painter from Brussels, as saying. Kenigsman cited an attack and multiple threats against Charlie Hebdo since 2006 for publishing caricatures deemed offensive to Islam.

Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, said the shooting was an attack on “the European way of life which has already seen Jewish children gunned down at school and people murdered in cold blood while visiting a museum in Brussels.”

By: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel

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