By Jim Kouri
“Europe is lost,” says Rabbi Meir Bar-Hen. “I tell my congregants: Don’t think we’re here for good, and I encourage them to buy property in Israel.”
A well-known religious leader from the Jewish community warned European Jews that Barcelona is “doomed,” thanks to Spain’s lack of will to confront radical Islam. Rabbi Meir Bar-Hen, the chief rabbi of Barcelona, warned on Friday that — thanks to not only the Muslim jihadists, but also radical leftists — Barcelona is finished , a day after the deadly car-ramming attack in the city.
According to the Times of Israel, Rabbi Bar-Hen has been encouraging his congregants to leave Spain, which he called during an interview with reporters a “hub of Islamist terror for all of Europe,” for years before the attacks Thursday and Friday, he said.
“Listening to the Rabbi brings back images of Nazi Germany and the Spanish Inquisition. The problem is no one listens until it’s too late,” said Jeffrey Blum, a former U.S. Marine and deputy sheriff. “Perhaps it’s time for a new Exodus.”
At least 14 victims and five suspected Islamic terrorists were killed in Barcelona and the resort town of Cambrils, 75 miles south of that Spanish city. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.
“Jews are not here permanently,” he said of the city and region. “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.”
Some believe that Jews in Spain may experience a return of the Spanish Inquisition. During the reign of Henry III of Castile and Leon(1390–1406), Jews faced increased persecution and were pressured to convert to Christianity. The pogroms of 1391 were especially brutal, and the threat of violence hung over the Jewish community in Spain. Faced with the choice between baptism and death, the number of nominal converts to the Christian faith soon became very great. Many Jews were killed, and those who adopted Christian beliefs faced continued suspicion and prejudice.
A white, unmarked van on Thursday slammed into crowds of people on Las Ramblas while the street was packed with local residents and tourists. More than 100 were injured, and 13 people killed. The driver of the van fled on foot and was believed to be still at large on Friday. Police shot dead another man at a security checkpoint Thursday.
Hours later, police killed five men in a raid in Cambrils who cops said were terrorists planning their next terrorist operation.
The attacks exposed the presence of a large Muslim community with “radical fringes.” Once these people are “living among you,” the Rabbi said of terrorists and their supporters, “it’s very difficult to get rid of them. They only get stronger.” He also said this applied to Europe as a whole. “Europe is lost,” he said.
He pointed to the Spanish government’s decision in April to allow Leila Khaled, a Palestinian terrorist who was convicted in a plot to hijack an airplane in 1969, to enter Spain for a book festival. This showed authorities “do not understand the nature of terrorism, if they treat it as an action by the disenfranchised,” Bar-Hen said.
Ignoring calls to ban the visit by Khaled — book fair organizers hung posters of Khaled on main streets — Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau Ballano of the far-left Barcelona en Comú party led the passage in April of a city council resolution condemning Israel’s “violations of international law.”
Bar-Hen told reporters that he won’t attend the rally called by Mayor Colau Ballano as security officials instructed him to avoid public areas in the coming days because he is recognizably Jewish.
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