COVID Diary- Reflections from Our Advisory Board Member Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs

December 11, 2020

Every Day during the Corona crisis our Advisory Board Member Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs (NL) writes a diary, on request of the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam, which is published on the website of the NIW, the only Jewish Dutch Magazine. Rabbi Jacobs is the head of Inter Governmental Relationships at the Rabbinical Centre of Europe. We will be regularly publishing a selection of his informative, sometimes light hearted, but always wise pieces.
 
For our Dutch readers you can follow the diary every day at NIW home page: https://niw.nl
 
It was another week of sorting through my stuffed inbox. A nice surprising was the initiative of an unknown person who only has a Jewish father. He wants to set up a website entitled: “ask the rabbi”.
 
I thought it was nice that someone who is therefore according to Halachah non-Jewish approached me to do this. So, I immediately made contact and agreed to participate.
 
The intention is that people ask their question online and that the administrator, him in this case, then forwards the questions to one of the participating rabbis. It seems sensible to me that some sort of pre-selection takes place, but although he thought the questions would be limited to questions about knowledge, I expect many more requests for help.
 
A request for help is very difficult to answer in writing. And so my proposal is that the rabbi call the questioner from an unnamed number. Experience has taught me that most of the questions that come to me are dressed up in a simple factual question, but that behind that simple question lies a much deeper question or problem. I cannot perceive this problem if the question is asked in writing.
 
And so the webmaster gets to work and looks at how we can separate the wheat from the chaff, but at the same time not throw the baby away with the bath water. I’m curious! So although I got up too late, because I went to bed much too late, my working day became too short. Especially because I had to come to Veldhoven to take part in an Israeli broadcast debating anti-Semitism and the question of how politics deals with Israel. And that was, despite first glance, fun.
 
I had brought to my friend Louk de Liever a bottle of Israeli wine specially from Judea and Samaria, which has been bombarded by the anti-Jewish lobby into a so-called ‘occupied area’ and these products must be provided with a label on which the origin can be recognised. So, product of Israel is of course out of the question, but also coming from Judea and Samaria is not accepted. It should read product from “occupied territory”. And while I had just returned from the city centre of Amersfoort, where Louk lives, after my walk, I see a message that in Dubai products from the so-called “occupied territories” may be sold without a label because they support the Palestinian economy. I am curious if the United Nations will now pass a resolution against the United Arab Emirates and I am even more curious how our Ministry of Foreign Affairs will respond.
 
Are they now sending a number of employees to fine the Chamber of Commerce in Dubai, as they did a few months ago to Nijkerk? Making sure that animal suffering in the slaughterhouses was limited, there was not enough staff available for that, but those few bottles of delicious Israeli wine from the “occupied territories” apparently had enough time and staff and that was really much more important than unnecessary animal suffering…But even if that reporting isn’t correct yet, it doesn’t matter. Because in politics, today’s truth can be tomorrow’s lie, or vice versa!
At 6:00 PM left for Veldhoven, near Eindhoven, for the Israel evening. It started at 8:00 PM and lasted until 9:15 PM. What a great program, what energy the SGP has put into this.
 
What pro-Israel warmth. And how grateful I am that I was able to participate in this. The background was a large photo of Jerusalem with the burning menorah in front of it. Perfect music, live interview with someone from Israel and someone else from Iraq. It was amazing.
 
But of course I had to think about what to say. It takes energy, but thank G-d I have that. At 11:15 PM I was home, floored. Wrote the diary and had another conversation with a political person to try to get a visa for a father who lives in Israel, is divorced and wants to visit his two small children, who live with his ex in the Netherlands. Problem: Visa is not granted due to corona. The political insider will see what he can do. And now, my faithful diary readers , if you don’t know what to do with your time for an hour and fifteen minutes, click on this link: https://youtu.be/NYJQaIjQIt8. Enjoy our friends of Israel, because we really have them!
 

Additional Articles

RED LINES CAMPAIGN- BE A PART OF IT! BRING THE CHANGE TO YOUR POLITICAL PARTY!

Anti-Semitism on the rise.
Populism and xenophobia on the march
Jewish life in Europe under pressure

Our practices under attack
We decided enough was enough.
These are our red lines https://www.ejassociation.eu/red-lines/
In November 2018, Jewish community leaders from all over Europe met in Brussels and ratified 5 key demands that we, as European citizens and Jews, expect as a minimum from political parties taking part in the European Elections in May 2019.
The EJA has been reaching out to party leaders, Parliamentarians, political groups in the European Parliament and ambassadors across the continent, getting them onboard, and getting their commitment to adopt the red lines.
We need your help.
Write to your local Member of Parliament and urge them and their party to take your and our shared concerns seriously and adopt them. You can find all the info you need HERE

Covid: vingt interpellations après la manifestation à Bruxelles et six blessés (photos)

Huit mille personnes ont participé à cette manifestation, selon une estimation de la police. Elle s’est globalement déroulée sans incident mais un petit groupe de perturbateurs a affronté la police lorsque le cortège est arrivé à son point d’arrivée, près de la place Schuman.
Les agents de police ont répondu avec un canon à eau et du gaz lacrymogène. Quatre manifestants et deux policiers ont été blessés. Plusieurs véhicules de police ont été endommagés.
Les protestataires s’étaient rassemblés vers midi à la gare de Bruxelles-Nord et le cortège s’était élancé vers 13h25. À sa tête se trouvait une délégation de pompiers (en uniforme) et du personnel soignant.
Les organisateurs ont éprouvé beaucoup de difficultés à contenir les participants sur le parcours prévu et à éviter les confrontations avec la police. Quelques projectiles avaient été jetés à hauteur de la rue de la Loi sur la police mais les manifestants ont rapidement réussi à ramener le calme.
La manifestation s’est ensuite dirigée vers le parc du Cinquantenaire. Une fois atteint, les premiers intervenants ont déclamé leur discours. Mais un groupe de perturbateurs a commencé à bombarder la police, qui bloquait l’entrée de la place Schuman, avec toutes sortes de projectiles, ainsi qu’avec des feux d’artifices. Le canon à eau et des gaz lacrymogènes ont été utilisés à plusieurs reprises par la police.
La majeure partie des manifestants a quitté les lieux mais un autre groupe est resté sur l’avenue d’Auderghem et est entré dans une nouvelle confrontation avec les forces de police. Des déchets ont été incendiés. Le canon à eau et les gaz lacrymogènes ont à nouveau été utilisés pour repousser les protestataires. Le noyau dur s’est finalement disloqué et le calme est revenu.
La précédente manifestation contre le Covid Safe Ticket, il y a deux semaines, avait rassemblé 35.000 personnes, selon la police.

Une association juive outrée par la représentation de l’étoile jaune à la manifestation

La European Jewish Association a réagi outrée dimanche à l’étoile jaune représentée sur l’une des bannières de manifestants participant à la marche organisée dimanche à Bruxelles contre les mesures sanitaires prises par le gouvernement pour endiguer la propagation du coronavirus. "Il est difficile de dire à quel point c’est une erreur", a déclaré le rabbin Menachem Margolin, président de l’association.
"J’ai du mal à voir la similitude entre le fait qu’on vous demande de vous faire vacciner pendant une pandémie, -ou d’en assumer les conséquences si vous ne le faites pas- et l’extermination systématique de six millions de Juifs dans des camps de la mort, des chambres à gaz ou dans des fosses communes à ciel ouvert", a déclaré M. Margolin.
"Cela me rend malade de penser que si peu de gens comprennent la douleur que de telles bannières provoquent, et que si peu de gens réalisent vraiment l’énormité et l’ampleur de l’Holocauste. À ceux qui ont défilé aujourd’hui avec une grande étoile jaune, je dis: ne faites pas ça. Peu importe ce que vous pensez des restrictions sanitaires, personne ne vous tatoue les bras, personne ne vous case dans des camions à bétail et personne ne veut que vous, votre famille et vos proches meurent. Tout d’abord, assurez-vous d’avoir les connaissances et de savoir ce que cette étoile jaune représente réellement", a encore souligné le président de l’association européenne.
https://m.lavenir.net/cnt/dmf20211205_01642831/covid-des-milliers-de-personnes-a-bruxelles-pour-manifester-contre-les-mesures-sanitaires

In Berlin, the 93-year-old Holocaust survivor by the name of Emil Farkash testifies against the notorious Josef Schutz.

In Berlin, the 93-year-old Holocaust survivor by the name of Emil Farkash testifies against the notorious Josef Schutz. Mr. Schutz is a 100-year-old charged with complicity in the murder of 3,518 prisoners when he worked as a warden at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in 1942-1945.
The European Jewish Association applauds and admires the courage of Mr. Farkash in attending the trial of the charged individual.
Moreover, the EJA has extended their hand to offer any kind of assistance to Mr. Farkash. However, he politely declined and noted that he is receiving sufficient assistance from the German government. On behalf of the family, we would like to thank Adv. Thomas Walther and Dr. Efraim Zuroff for their support.
Once again, the EJA stands firm in its stance to seek out justice against criminals associated with the Holocaust.

Meeting with Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the EU, H.E. Madam Emina Merdan, and the Mission's Minister-Counselor, Ms. Miranda Sidran

Yesterday, the European Jewish Association has had the honour of welcoming at its headquarters the Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the European Union, H.E. Madam Emina Merdan, and the Mission's Minister-Counselor, Ms. Miranda Sidran.

Her Excellency has presented the EJA's Chairman, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the original of the Rosh Hashanah congratulatory letter received earlier from H.E. Dr. Denis Zvizdić, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina. H.E. Madam Ambassador has also expressed and conveyed H.E. Mr. Chairman's condolences regarding the Wednesday shooting near a synagogue in the German city of Halle, resulting in the tragic deaths of two people nearby.

During the meeting, we have in particular discussed Bosnia and Herzegovina: the country's tragic recent past, its modern European aspirations, the multicultural and multi-religious nature of its society as well as the local Jewish community, having its roots in the Sephardic Jews fleeing from Spain more than five centuries ago.

The Jewish community of Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially if compared to many others throughout Europe, is quite special - there have never been any ghettos here, with the Jews always having been considered an integral part of the local society, with no inherent Antisemitism carried by their neighbours and compatriots. While the modern Bosnian Jewish community is much smaller than it used to be, it is very active, while the heritage of Ladino is carefully preserved. In turn, established in 1997, the Interreligious Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina unites representatives of the Catholic and Orthodox Christians, Muslims and Jews - working together to build a better future.

Potential cooperation between the Mission and the EJA has also been discussed - both sides have expressed sincere interest in further dialogue and carefully exploring such possibilities of collaboration on topics of common interest and concern. We are very grateful to Her Excellency for this visit and wish H.E. Ambassador Merdan the best of luck and much energy in her important work.

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