Photo: Ze'ev Yanai
Norwegian minister: 'We now get what Israel goes through'
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Ynet in Oslo, Immigration Minister Sylvi Listhaug says Europeans 'are experiencing now the fear that you have experienced for decades'; supporting Israel's right to defend itself, Listhaug adds 'you live in a region that has a lot of problems.'
OSLO - Norway’s minister of immigration drew comparisons Wednesday between the plight of Europeans suffering from increasingly common terror attacks with the experiences endured by Israel for decades.
“We are experiencing now the fear that you have experienced for decades,” said Sylvi Listhaug in an exclusive interview with Ynet in Oslo. “Many people now understand the situation you live in. We see what is happening in Sweden, in Britain and in France.”
Interview with Sylvi Listhaug
European nations, she added, “and their citizens need to understand the situation in Israel better because of the terror attacks in Israel.”
Since taking office, Listhaug has cracked down on illegal immigration into the Scandinavian country by adopting stringent policies that have resulted in just 1,000 illegal migrants entering the country in 2017 from 30,000 in 2015.
According to Listhaug, her Progress Party, which governs in a coalition with the Conservative Party, is a staunch supporter of Israel.
“The Progress Party has always been a supporter of Israel’s need to protect themselves (sic) in a region where you are the only democracy,” she claimed.
“That does not mean that we support everything you do but you have a right to defend your people and your borders because you live in a region that has a lot of problems,” she acknowledged.
The interview took place a day after Denmark’s Immigration Minister Inger Stojberg posted a screenshot of her iPad showing a drawing of the Prophet Mohammad on Facebook, one of the satirical cartoons that caused outrage among Muslims around the world more than a decade ago.
While saying that she did not necessarily agree with the caricature, Listhaug insisted her Danish counterpart had every right to publish it in the interest of free speech.
“People have been murdered because they have expressed their opinion like (what happened with) Charlie Hebdo,” she highlighted in reference to the French satirical magazine that was firebombed in 2011 for publishing a cartoon of Mohammad and was then the target of an brutal attack by two radical Muslim brothers in 2015 in which 12 people were massacred.
“It’s the new norm,” Listhaug concluded, “for Europeans to impose limits on freedom of speech in order to avoid offending minorities.”