Israel conveyed its sympathies to Sweden after the Islamic terror attack in the country.
Israel conveyed its condolences to the Swedish people following the truck-ramming terror attack in Stockholm on Friday, which killed four civilians.
“We wish to convey our condolences to the families of the victims and wishes for a speedy recovery to those injured in yesterday’s terror attack in the heart of Stockholm. Israel stands with you at this difficult time,” a foreign minister spokesman stated.
“Terrorism poses a threat to democratic values, culture and way of life and we must combat it together with determination,” the statement said.
A 39-year-old native of Uzbekistan drove a stolen truck into shoppers in Stockholm on Friday, killing four people and wounding 15.
The terrorist, affiliated with Islamic terror groups, has been on authorities’ radar previously, but they dismissed him as a “marginal character.”
Sweden has long been known for its open-door policy toward migrants and refugees. But after the Scandinavian country of 10 million took in a record 163,000 refugees in 2015 — the highest per-capita rate in Europe — Prime Minister Stefan Lofven conceded it could no longer cope with the influx.
Israeli Sympathy Despite Diplomatic Tensions
It is significant that an Israeli leader did not issue the statement as is the custom, but only a lower-level spokesman.
In December, Israeli officials refused to receive Sweden’s foreign minister Margot Wallstrom, saying she is not welcome since making several offensive remarks about the Jewish State, such as accusing Israel of randomly executing innocent Palestinians.
Wallstrom is considered to be persona-non-grata in Jerusalem. In January 2015, then Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman declined to meet with Wallstrom, leading to cancellation of her trip.
A year later, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely announced Jerusalem was banning all visits by Swedish diplomats to the Jewish state in response to the Swedish foreign minister’s repeated allegations against Israel and Stockholm’s biased policies.
“In the clearest manner possible, the State of Israel is conveying a very sharp message to Sweden, which says: ‘You are backing terror, you are giving ISIS a tailwind to operate throughout Europe,” Hotovely stated.
Hotovely said she viewed Wallstrom’s remarks as “a bad mix of stupidity and diplomatic foolishness, and the state of Israel was closing the doors” to Sweden’s official visits.
Sweden’s relations with Israel have been strained since the Social Democratic-led government in 2014 recognized Palestinian statehood, and Wallstrom’s comments on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have elicited angry responses from Israeli officials.