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Should European Jews Be Armed?

A Jewish lobby group asked European governments to facilitate the issuing of weapons permits for guards from within Jewish communities.

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, director of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association, or EJA, made the plea in a letter he sent Tuesday to the interior ministers of the European Union, he told JTA.

“We hereby ask that gun licensing laws are reviewed with immediate effect to allow designated people in the Jewish communities and institutions to own weapons for the essential protection of their communities,” he wrote.

The call was issued following the slaying of four last week in a terrorist attack by an Islamist on a Jewish kosher shop near Paris. Since 2012, a total of 12 people have been killed in similar attacks in France and Belgium.

“After each terrorist attack against a Jewish community, European politicians respond by vowing to fight anti-Semitism and deploying police outside Jewish institutions for a few months,” Margolin said. “It’s time for more drastic measures.”

Most European countries have laws restricting civilians’ access to firearms. In some European countries, even police officers go on patrol unarmed as a matter of policy.

“But this will change, as more and more Islamists return to their native Europe from the Middle East, where they are fighting with jihadists,” Margolin said.

He said he would like to see five to 10 people from each community strapping firearms “to deter attackers and respond if they do strike.”

Margolin also noted that “Israeli governments respond to such attacks by calling on Jews to make aliyah,” or immigrate to Israel. “But European Jews will remain, that is not the solution.”

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