A prominent rabbi and Jewish leader who made headlines last month when he called for the arming of Jewish institutions in Europe is now criticizing European governments for failing to adequately protect their Jewish citizens.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin is the director general of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe and the European Jewish Association, which is the largest federation of Jewish organizations and communities in Europe.
Margolin made the comments in a recorded interview scheduled to air tonight on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio,” broadcast on New York’s AM 970 The Answer and Philadelphia’s NewsTalk 990. The recording was obtained by WND.
Margolin took to Klein’ show to warn that Jews in Europe will likely face more attacks in the wake of Saturday’s synagogue shooting in Denmark.
Margolin demanded immediately law enforcement protection for Jewish institutions throughout Europe and posited those institutes that are not protected should work to secure themselves, including with armed guards.
“There are hundreds of Jewish institutions in Europe which are not protected 24/7 by the police, and this is a very dangerous situation,” Margolin stated. “Unfortunately I would say that you can record today’s conversation and use it again when something else is going to happen.”
He continued, “European governments have the responsibility and obligation to protect each Jewish institution in Europe so every Jew will feel secure and free to come to synagogue, Jewish school, Kosher supermarket, museum, kosher restaurants or any other Jewish institution at any time without any fear.”
Reacting to the Copenhagen attacks, Margolin maintained, “The fact is that if not for the first terror attack at the coffee shop, the Danish police wouldn’t have protected the Jewish synagogue.”
Denmark’s Jewish community said the victim of the synagogue attack was a Jew identified as 37-year-old Dan Uzan, the AP reported.
According to police, Uzan was unarmed and was standing guard outside the synagogue entrance to check attendees coming in for a boy’s Bar Mitzvah celebration. There were reportedly at least 80 other people inside the synagogue during the attack.
Police reacted immediately and later killed the shooter, who is also believed responsible for an attack hours earlier at a free speech event at a Denmark café.
The café’s “Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression” meeting was reportedly attended by the French ambassador to Denmark, François Zimeray, and cartoonist Lars Vilks, who previously depicted Muhammad as a dog. Both were unharmed.
Asked by Klein whether it was time for European Jewish institutions to arm themselves, Margolin replied, “Our demand is very clear. In time, Jewish institutions need to be protected. If the local governments are not able to protect each Jewish institution we need to make sure each Jewish institution is protected. No question about it.”
According to numerous reports, Margolin last month called for European Jews to arm themselves.
Immediately following those reports, the rabbi appeared on Klein’s show to declare his proposal has been widely “misinterpreted” by critics and misreported by international news media.
“In some media outlets in Europe, they said that I called for every Jew to carry a gun in Europe, which is exactly the opposite of what I said,” Margolin stated.
Margolin clarified his proclamation, first reportedly made in a letter to EU ministers sent last month, according to Newsweek.
Margolin told Klein, “We all agree that it is the responsibility of the government to protect the lives of the citizens. So it is clear that it is the obligation of each European government to make sure that each Jewish institution will be secured.
“So our first demand is that the European governments will understand that each Jewish institution, such as kindergarten(s), schools, kosher stores, supermarkets, restaurants, museums, synagogues, everything must be protected by the police or the army.”
He said his weapons proposal only applied to “a country (that) is … unable to ensure that its security will be able to protect the Jewish institutions for the long term.”
In such a scenario, Margolin explained, “What we ask is that each Jewish community will choose a few people that their responsibility will be to protect the institutions and these people will be armed with a gun.”