C1. ISRAELI PM BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, REMARKS AT THE GREAT SYNAGOGUE, PARIS, 11 JANUARY 2015
On 7 January 2015, two gunmen attacked the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, killing twelve people on its staff, including senior cartoonists and journalists whose work had lampooned the Prophet Muhammad. Two days later, another gunman killed four more people at a kosher supermarket in the French capital. Following the attacks, the French government organized a unity march in Paris on 11 January, which was reportedly attended by over one million people, including more than fifty world leaders.
Pres. François Hollande had requested that PM Benjamin Netanyahu not attend the march, fearing that his presence would divert attention to the Israel-Palestine conflict. He conveyed the same message to PA Pres. Mahmoud Abbas. Although both leaders announced that they would not be at the march, Netanyahu changed his plans after learning that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett were participating in the march. President Hollande consequently extended an invitation to Abbas.
After the march, Netanyahu delivered a speech during a memorial ceremony at the Great Synagogue of Paris. Hollande, who attended the ceremony, exited when Netanyahu took the podium. Netanyahu used the occasion to call for increased immigration of French Jews to Israel, a call that he would extend to all European Jews following similar attacks in Copenhagen on 14 February (to which Israel responded with an NIS 180 million immigrant absorption plan). Presented below is the full text of Netanyahu’s speech at the Paris synagogue. The speech is available at www.pmo.gov.il.