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How Israeli politicians are exploiting Brussels attacks

Just as he did after the attacks in Paris, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his colleagues on the Israeli right are keen to point out connections between the terrorism striking Europe and Israel's domestic security issues.
Windows of the terminal at Brussels national airport are seen broken during a ceremony following bomb attacks in Brussels metro and Belgium's National airport of Zaventem, Belgium, March 23, 2016. REUTERS/Frederic Sierakowski/Pool - RTSBXL3

The response of Israel’s Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz just one day after the attacks in Belgium was such an uncomfortable mishmash of schadenfreude, condescension and rudeness that it was easy to imagine someone had distorted what he actually said.

“If Belgians continue eating chocolate and enjoying life and looking like great democrats and liberals, and not noticing that some of the Muslims there are planning terrorism, they won’t be able to fight them,” said the senior minister in a radio interview the day after the attacks. Adopting a somewhat reproachful tone, he seemed to be admonishing the Europeans for their lax policies in confronting international terrorism, compared with Israel's.

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