Terror in Brussels Jewish Museum – 4 killed including 2 Israelis

The Brussels Jewish Museum

Yesterday afternoon 2 terrorists drove up to the Jewish Museum in Brussels and opened fire, killing 4 people, amongst them an Israeli couple from Tel Aviv, who have now been named as Emanuel and Miriam Riva:

The Foreign Ministry confirmed Sunday that two of the four fatalities from the shooting were an Israeli couple from Tel Aviv.

A third fatality was a volunteer at the Jewish Museum of Belgium, according to an unconfirmed report Saturday night on the news site HLN.be, the online edition of the Het Laatste Nieuws daily. A fourth victim, whom HLN reported was a 23-year-old employee of the museum, was also killed.

Police have no suspects in custody, the news site also reported. Belgian authorities are yet to release the names of those who died in the museum and the fourth person.

The shooter aimed for the victims throats and heads, witnesses told the daily.

Scene of the shooting outside the Jewish Museum in Brussels

The cold-blooded attack brings back awful memories of the Toulouse shooting a couple of years ago:

European Jewish leaders are already comparing the shooting to 2012’s massacre at the Ozar HaTorah school in Toulouse, France.

The attack is being approached as racially motivated by Belgian authorities, who posited that it was motivated by anti-Semitism.

Belgium’s interior minister, Joëlle Milquet, was quoted as saying by the RTBF Belgian television station that anti-Semitic motives could be behind the attack.

“It’s a shooting … at the Jewish Museum,” she was quoted saying. “All of this can lead to suspicions of an act of anti-Semitism.”

Brussels Mayor Yvan Mayeur was quoted by the BBC as stating that the shooting was likely a terror attack and that the choice of location “isn’t a coincidence.”

About half of Belgium’s 42,000-strong Jewish community lives in Brussels.

An anti-terror expert indeed compared the methodology of the attack to the Toulouse murders:

Claude Moniquet, a former agent of the France’s DSGE spy agency, told JTA that Saturday’s slaying of three people in Brussels “is reminiscent of Toulouse and Montauban killings and resembles other similar attacks, including by Islamists.”

In 2012, Mohammed Merah, a 23-year-old French Islamist, killed four Jews at a Jewish school in Toulouse several days after he killed three soldiers in the suburb of Montauban. French authorities believe Merah, who was killed ina shootout with police, was aided by his brother Abdelkader Merah and possibly a few other accomplices.


“The characteristics of this attack mean it was planned for some time, a few days at the least,” said Moniquet, who heads the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center, a Brussels-based think tank. “This is evident from the fact that the perpetrators selected one of the only Jewish institutions that are not protected,” he added.

Carrying out an attack like the one at the museum “does not necessarily require a large network — a cell of two perpetrators with assistance from another five or six. The small dimensions of this cell make it harder to detect,” Moniquet added.

Belgium’s interior minister, Joelle Milquet, told media at a press conference in Brussels that “maximum security has been deployed around places frequented by the Jewish community,“ adding there was no concrete threat in Belgium or on Belgium’s federal elections, which are scheduled to be held on Sunday.

But Moniquet said the decision to elevate security was “necessary because the perpetrators presumably knew they were on a no-way-out operation. They are working under the assumption that they will be caught within days, and therefore have a motivation to maximize the attack by striking again if capable.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu blamed anti-Israel and antisemitic slander for inciting the attack:

“This act of murder is the result of constant incitement against Jews and their state,” Netanyahu said in a statement hours after the attack. “Slander and lies against the State of Israel continue to be heard on European soil even as the crimes against humanity and acts of murder being perpetrated in our region are systematically ignored. Our response to this hypocrisy is to constantly state the truth, continue a relentless fight against terrorism and build up our strength.”

Liberman echoed Netanayhu while also tying the attack to “calls to boycott Israel and boycott Israeli products.”

I agree with Netanyahu and Liberman’s hypothesis that the motive is anti-Israel incitement, which leads inexorably to antisemitism despite the claims of the anti-Israelis that they have no beef with Jews, only with Zionists.

However, since no suspects have yet been apprehended, we need to withhold judgement and it is too early to say what their motives were. But I won’t be surprised if turns out to be a Toulouse sequel.

I send wishes for a refuah shlema to all the wounded and sincere condolences to the family of Emanuel and Miriam Riva HYD.  May Hashem avenge their blood.

המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים

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8 Responses to Terror in Brussels Jewish Museum – 4 killed including 2 Israelis

  1. Reality says:

    Such a horrific terrorist act.Netanyahu &Lieberman are quite right.It’s time those holier than thou Europeans started decrying real terrorist acts &anti humanitarian barbaric acts instead of graffiti”terrorists”

  2. Rob Harris says:

    A very sad story. I notice that the authorities are saying the individual acted alone although they have no proof, and are not saying what his identity was.

    It seems to be particularly in bad taste for Pope Francis to have prayed at the Security Barrier the day after this terrorist attack, and to have snubbed Netanyahu by inviting Shimon Peres instead.

    • anneinpt says:

      Agreed. I’m withholding judgement about the shooting although it was clearly antisemitic, whatever the motive: Islamic or neo-Nazi. It seems to have been too well-arranged for it to have been a lone nutcase.

      As for the Pope, I’m not sure if he has been ill-advised, manipulated, if he’s living in some pink cloud-cuckoo land, or if he really believes the barrier is a bad thing and should come down, thereby risking the lives of millions of Israelis. I can’t figure him out. He seems very benign and yet the visit so far has been full of stumbles at political minefields. I’m still struggling with a post about his visit. I hope to have it up by the morning if not before.

  3. Andrea says:

    The infamous attack occured the day before European Parlament election. I have not any evidence that circumstance was planned by the attacker, most probably it was not, but this episode has strongly influenced my thoughts on Europe on election day. I have attended a meeting with friends -some of them Jews albeit non observant at all – on Saturday morning. Many of us were concerned for high level of demagogy and hate- spreading on “hidden financial powers, Freeemasons and cosmopolitan people”. We were in agreement that some financial corporations have a strong responsability for this present crisis but s kind of language from some politicians dangerously sounded in our head like a well known ghost.
    At evening the worst was disclosed : in two hours after the attack all the commentaries in the most followed sites were filled by an impressive exposure of idiocy and hate and of course no compassion for victims. The term Jews seldom appared in a favorable light and all this not only in the Radical left wing sites.; Also on the Conservative side there was more anti-arabs attitude than genuine support for the victims: In a curious paradox Jews were blamed for being : victims, hunters, conspirators,dovish, hawkish, multiculturalist, racist, Leftist and Nazi. – all without any logical coherence. I warn I am talkng about comments from ordinary people and not opinions expressed by analist. Indeed politicians and opinionist strongly condemned the episode (at least !)… but we know that Nazis were all milkman, posturing fake soldiers and next door nice guys
    Now I am asking : is it possible that all stupid antisemites were on their keypad whilst normal people were committed in every day duties ? I think this could be the answer but conclusion is that internet is now an amplification of the worst human being instinct. The other option is that we are a people of antisemites or simply cowards which could be the case considering the cowardice of our fathers ( generally speaking with some noticeable exceptions).
    i admit feelig a bit ashamed to day here and sorry for some mistakes in language

    • anneinpt says:

      I didn’t really take into account the timing, being the day before the elections. I don’t think those elections were hardly noticed in Israel at all, certainly not in the media.

      The comments you mention from the internet are nothing new to bloggers like me. Some days I am so appalled I feel physically sick. But other times I just ignore them. A journalist once described these commenters as like the exhaust from a car. It’s dirty and smelly but you can just ignore them. They disappear into the wind.

      I think your analysis that the internet amplifies their power is very true. This can be a good thing – it’s only the megaphone of the internet that makes them seem so powerful – but it could be very bad too, because it encourages even more of the antisemites and other haters band together. It is potentially very dangerous.

      The way you describe the hate expressed towards the Jews:

      In a curious paradox Jews were blamed for being : victims, hunters, conspirators,dovish, hawkish, multiculturalist, racist, Leftist and Nazi. – all without any logical coherence.

      this is in essence what some commenter (I can’t remember who) once said: the Jews are described as rootless cosmopolitans and they are fanatical patriots; they are communists and they are capitalists; they close themselves off or they try too hard to assimilate; they are too religious or they have abandoned their religion. Whatever they do is wrong in other words. This is absolutely typical of the classic antisemite.

      I don’t agree that you or any other nation is a nation of antisemites just because your voices are not heard on the internet. The antisemites make a lot of noise but I don’t think their numbers are so high. But those who oppose them must make their voices heard above them all.

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