COPENHAGEN (AFP) - Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt joined France and Germany in urging Danish Jews not to emigrate Monday despite a call from her Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu for European Jews to move to Israel following the Copenhagen attacks.
"The Jewish community have been in this country for centuries. They belong in Denmark, they are part of the Danish community and we wouldn't be the same without the Jewish community in Denmark," she told reporters.
Her comments came after the weekend attacks on a cultural centre and a synagogue that left two people dead including a 37-year-old Jewish man.
Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt addresses a press conference in Copenhagen on February 15, 2015 after two fatal attacks in the Danish capital. -- PHOTO: AFP
"Everyone can do what they want but that is my message to the Jewish community and they know how I feel about that," she said.
Netanyahu's message - which echoed a similar call after the Paris attacks last month - was politely rejected by a spokesman for Denmark's Jewish community.
"We're very grateful for Netanyahu's concern but having said that, we are Danish - we're Danish Jews but we're Danish - and it won't be terror that makes us go to Israel," Jeppe Juhl said.
"So we understand his concern for our well-being, and we value his concern but we are Danish and we're staying in Denmark."
Around 8,000 Jews live in Denmark, most of them in Copenhagen, according to the Jewish Community of Denmark, out of a population of around 5.5 million.
"Israel is your home. We are preparing and calling for the absorption of mass immigration from Europe," Netanyahu said on Sunday.
Danish investigators suspect that the Copenhagen gunman was inspired by the Paris attacks.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said Germany was "glad and also grateful" to have a Jewish community, when asked about Netanyahu's renewed appeal following Sunday's attack in Copenhagen.
The German government and other officials will do everything possible to ensure the safety of Jewish institutions and citizens in Germany, Merkel told reporters after Sunday's election in the northern city-state of Hamburg.
"We'd like to go on living well together with the Jews who are in Germany today," the chancellor added.
A German foreign ministry spokeswoman had a similar message, saying "We want to do everything so that Jews stay here in Germany and so that they feel well and safe."
French President Francois Hollande said on Monday that Jews were welcome in Europe and France, while his Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he "regretted" Netanyahu's remarks.
French authorities also reported on Sunday that 300 Jewish tombs had been defaced in the village of Montry in northeast France.
At an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of death camp Auschwitz, Merkel said it was a "disgrace" that Jews in Germany faced insults, threats or violence.
More than 100,000 Jews make their home in Germany, she noted.