Netanyahu heads to Paris rally, will call on Jews to immigrate to Israel

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said as he left for the Paris rally that he would call on French Jews to immigrate to Israel.

“I am going to Paris in order to participate in the rally, along with world leaders, for a renewed struggle against the Islamic terrorism that is threatening all of humanity, which I have been calling for for years,” Netanyahu said Sunday morning.

“This evening I will attend a special rally, along with French President Francois Hollande, with the Jewish community in France. I will say there that any Jew who wants to immigrate to Israel will be received here with open arms,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu was set to join world leaders for Sunday’s unity rally in the wake of three terror attacks in France in three days, in which 17 people were killed.  Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky joined Netanyahu on the trip.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was scheduled to attend the rally, according to the Palestinian Maan news agency. Abbas told Hollande Saturday that the Palestinian people and leadership would remain supportive of France against “this terrorism which has no religion,” the official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

Abbas, accompanied to the rally by chief Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat, is scheduled to meet Sunday with French President Francois Hollande. Some 40 other world leaders are scheduled to attend.

Up to one million people are expected to attend the rally, which will march about three miles through the streets of Paris. Paris’ Place de la République, or Republic Plaza, was already crammed with thousands of people hours before the scheduled rally and march.

The march is to be secured by thousands of soldiers and police, as well as plain clothes police. Snipers are set to be deployed on rooftops throughout the route as well, according to reports.