Jewish Museum in Brussels reopens - but few feel safe


Around 300 people attended the emotional reopening of the Brussels Jewish Museum on Sunday, four months after a gunman shot dead two Israeli tourists and two members of staff inside the building.

Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo told those present that Belgium had redoubled its fight against terrorism since the attack.

Mehdi Nemmouche, a French-Algerian who allegedly spent time fighting in Syria, is accused of the killing.

"Those who commit antisemitic attacks shouldn't be able to hurt again. They should be prosecuted and sanctioned," said Mr Di Rupo.

But many at the ceremony were sceptical about Belgium's ability to bring about security.

"We heard 'death to Jews' slogans in [pro-Palestinian] protests throughout the summer and the government didn't do anything to stop it. The media didn't seem to care," said Nicole.

"I feel sadness for the four victims of the attack and also hope to see life resume. I'm also concerned because I feel that this could happen again," said Joel Rubinfeld, the head of the Belgian League against Antisemitism. "There are thousands of European jihadis who can attack anywhere. Belgian authorities don't arrest those who come back and even if they did, they wouldn't get long sentences. It's not that Belgium doesn't want to arrest them, it just doesn't have the means to."

Asked whether Belgium arrests jihadis who come back from the war, Mr Di Rupo said: "We're making sure they don't act; we'll avert new attacks." When told that many people do not feel safe, he answered: "You're creating panic."

During the short ceremony, director Philippe Blondin vowed to keep the museum open: "We've lost four crew members but we're seeing the coast again, and we've found friends as we've reached the harbour," he said.

● A shul in Anderlecht, near Brussels, was set on fire in an arson attack on Tuesday. Three people; the shul caretaker's wife and his two children, were treated for smoke inhalation.

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