By David Daoud
Jews in Belgium have begun enrolling in a local Krav Maga class to
learn self-defense, in response to the attack on a Jewish museum in
Brussels last year that left four Jews dead, Israeli news site NRG reported on Tuesday.
Following the fatal attack at the Jewish Museum of Belgium, Zionist
organization the World Betar Movement decided to honor the memory of the
victims by holding courses to train Belgian Jewish youth in
In addition to these courses, Betar’s newly inaugurated Belgian
branch said it would conduct other activities encouraging immigration to
Israel among local Jews.
The Belgian branch of Betar’s opening ceremony was attended by Betar
CEO Neria Mayer, head of the World Zionist Organization’s Department for
Activities in Israel and Countering Antisemitism Jacob Haguel, director
of Betar in Belgium Shimon Breihart and youth affiliated with the
Belgian chapter of Betar.
During the ceremony, Mayer said that the opening of the new branch was Betar’s answer to terrorism.
“We are working mainly to strengthen immigration to Israel, but the
rising antisemitism in Europe is causing many Jews to want to master the
art of self-defense. This is our secondary mission, to train and
strengthen you, in order to ensure that the Jews of Europe never again
feel helpless or frightened,” he said.
“Wherever anti-Semitism rears its head,” Betar would be there to confront it, Mayer told NRG.
During the inaugural ceremony, a woman on the street began
shouting antisemitic slogans and making the Nazi salute as she passed
the Israeli flag. Betar activists quickly removed her from the vicinity
of the ceremony.
A year ago, a gunman opened fire at the Jewish Museum of Belgium, in
the country’s capital of Brussels. Three people – two Israeli victims,
Emanuel and Miriam Riva, and a French woman named Dominique Sabrier –
were killed at the scene. Alexandre Strens, a young employee of the
museum, was critically wounded and later died of his injuries.
About a week after the attack, 29-year-old Mehdi Nemmouche, an
Algerian-born French citizen, was arrested in Marseilles in connection
with the shooting. A French prosecutor said Nemmouche had links to
radical Islamists and had spent over a year in Syria prior to the
attack. If he is charged, Nemmouche would become the first known case of
a radicalized Islamist returning from Syria and carrying out a
terrorist attack, according to the British Telegraph.