The chief rabbi of Brussels told an Israeli radio station Monday that there is no future for Jews in Europe, The Jerusalem Post reports.
Rabbi Avraham Gigi described the environment of fear in the Belgian capital since the city has been in lockdown following police terror raids across the country.
“There is a sense of fear in the streets, the Belgians understand that they too are targets of terror. Jews now pray in their homes [as opposed to at synagogues] and some of them are planning on emigrating,” Gigi said.
He explained, “Since Shabbat the city has been paralyzed. The synagogues were closed, something which has not happened since World War Two. People are praying alone or are holding small minyanim [small prayer groups] at private homes. Schools and theaters are closed as are most large stores and public events are not permitted. We live in fear and wait for instructions from the police or the government.”
Gigi noted that the Belgian Jewish population is at 50,000 (25,000 in Brussels/18,000 in Antwerp), noting there has been a migration of Jews to Israel “as well as emigration to Canada and the US. People understand there is no future for Jews in Europe.”
In a statement released Tuesday, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, director of the European Jewish Association, said his organization “is determined to continue our work to ensure that the 3 million Jews who live on our continent can continue to command a safe home and to be able to freely and proudly identify themselves as Jews.”