Recent terror attacks in Europe have led to a shift of public opinion in Norway, where people are far more understanding of Israeli response to terrorism than they used to be, a Norwegian minister told Ynet in an interview published on Thursday.
Minister of Immigration Sylvi Listhaug said: “We are experiencing now the fear that you have experienced for decades. Many people now understand the situation you live in. We see what is happening in Sweden, in Britain and in France.”
European nations, she added, “and their citizens need to understand the situation in Israel better because of the terror attacks in Israel.”
While the attitude to Israel of many Norwegians has been softening, Listhaug said that her “Progress Party has always been a supporter of Israel’s need to protect themselves in a region where you are the only democracy.”
“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 added.
As immigration minister, she also has much in common with her Israeli counterparts who have worked to bring illegal migration from Africa under control. Since taking office, her ministry has adopted tougher policies to cut down illegal entries, from 30,000 in 2015 to about 1,000 so far in 2017.
The change in view visa vis Israel is especially significant in Norway, which Norwegian conservative historian Hanne Nabintu Herland has called “the most anti-Semitic in the West.”