“For though I sowed them among the nations, In the distant places they shall remember Me, They shall escape with their children and shall return.” Zechariah 10:9 (The Israel Bible™)
Following a Barcelona terror attack in which 13 innocent people were killed, the chief rabbi of the region said that Jewish life in Spain is “doomed,” JTA reported on Friday.
“Jews are not here permanently,” Rabbi Meir Bar-Hen said of the Catalonia region of Spain. “I tell my congregants: Don’t think we’re here for good. And I encourage them to buy property in Israel. This place is lost. Don’t repeat the mistake of Algerian Jews, of Venezuelan Jews. Better [get out] early than late.”
On Thursday, a van plowed into a crowded Barcelona street, killing 13 people and injuring over 100. In a second vehicle attack in the town of Cambrils, 75 miles south of Barcelona, on Friday morning, another woman was killed. Five suspected terrorists – out of a cell of 12 – were shot dead by police and another four were arrested, but the driver of the van in Barcelona is still at large.
The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack, which authorities say had been in the works for months. Explosives found at a house in Alcanar thought to have been used by the terror cell were likely intended for further attacks in the region.
Rabbi Bar-Hen said that Thursday’s attacks were not the only warning signs. Calling Spain a “hub of Islamist terror for all of Europe,” he noted that the growing Muslim community brought with it a “radical fringe” which only becomes more entrenched and more dangerous with time.
“Europe is lost,” he pronounced.
Indeed, according to Soeren Kern, Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, Spain is “on track to overtake Greece as the second-biggest gateway for migrants entering Europe by sea.”
Rabbi Bar-Hen added that Spanish authorities are hesitant to confront Islamist terror. “They treat it as an action by the disenfranchised,” he said.
However, members of the Barcelona Jewish community did not wholly endorse their rabbi’s views. “Barcelona is a city where Jews have been living for one hundred years and of which they are proud. We Jews will not leave our city,” Victor Sorenssen, a spokesman for the community, told the Times of Israel.
But should Spanish Jews choose to leave their adopted homeland, they would be in good company. In recent years, the rise of Islamic and anti-Semitic terror in France has prompted hundreds of French Jews to leave the country and settle in Israel, and a recent poll of British Jews revealed that up to one-third of the UK’s Jewish population has considered leaving in light of growing anti-Semitism.