EJA Press release on European Court of Justice ruling on Kosher slaughter

December 17, 2020

EUROPEAN JEWISH ASSOCIATION LAMENTS EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE RULING ON KOSHER SLAUGHTER IN BELGIUM “WHAT A TERRIBLE MESSAGE TO SEND TO EUROPEAN JEWRY – YOU AND YOUR PRACTICE ARE NOT WELCOME HERE” SAYS ITS CHIEF.
“Bogus animal welfare claims are being used to penalise a practice that puts care and respect for animals at its very core”,
“This ruling gives the green light for other countries to follow suit, and if they do, there will be no Kosher meat available in Europe”, says Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association.
(Brussels 17 December 2020) The European court of Justice today delivered a potentially devastating ruling on an issue that has plagued European Jewry for years, the right to slaughter animals in the Kosher tradition, a millennia old practice that puts animal welfare and minimizing animal suffering at its very core.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the EJA today said his organisaton will explore every avenue and recourse available to protect the rights of Jews everywhere in Europe,
“This is a sad day for European Jewry. For decades now, as animal rights have come into vogue, Kosher slaughter has come under relentless attack, and subject to repeated attempts to ban it. The entire basis of the attacks are built on the entirely bogus premise that Kosher slaughter is more cruel than regular slaughtering, despite there being not a shred of evidence backing this up, and worse completely ignoring the fact that Kosher slaughter puts the welfare of the animal and minimising its suffering as of paramount importance. This is not a glib staement, but a commandment that all Jews must adhere to.
“What today’s ruling does is put animal welfare above the fundamental right of Freedom of Religion. Simply put, Beast takes preference over man.
Potentially devasting too, it gives other European countries like Belgium - who similarly regard this fundamental Charter freedom as ‘negotiable - the green light to follow suit. If every european country does it means only one thing: there will be no Kosher meat available in Europe anymore.
“What a terrible message to send to European Jewry, that you and your practices are not welcome here. This is a basic denial of our rights as European citizens. We cannot let it stand and will pursue every recourse and avenue to ensure that it doesnt.”
The European Court of Justice has ruled on a Belgian case, involving Flanders and Wallonia laws, that require pre-stunning of animals before slaughter. In short, the Court says that individual Member State moves to ban kosher slaughter by making stunning a pre-requisite, do not in themselves violate the Freedom of Religion rights contained within the EU charter of Fundamental Rights.
The ruling runs contrary to an opinion given in early September 2020 by the European Court Advocate General who suggested the oppositea.

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GREECE: KOSHER SLAUGHTER “UNDER DIRECT ATTACK” AS GREEK SUPREME COURT RULES THAT SLAUGHTER WITHOUT STUNNING VIOLATES EU LAW

Jewish freedom of religion is under direct attack across Europe from the very institutions that have vowed to protect our communities, says European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin.
Move comes as consequence of European Court of Justice Ruling last December that member countries may ban the practice of ritual slaughter in order to promote animal welfare, without infringing the rights of religious groups.
The December ruling  said that the EU’s animal slaughter regulation “does not preclude member states from imposing an obligation to stun animals prior to killing which also applies in the case of slaughter prescribed by religious rites”, but encouraged member states to find a balance. It is now clear that a number of member states are zealously applying the former whilst ignoring the latter,
In a statement this evening, the Chairman of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association, which represents hundreds of communities across the continent, said:
“We warned in December about the downstream consequences that the European Court of Justice ruling carried with it, and now we see the outcome. Jewish Freedom of Religion is under direct attack. It started in Belgium, moved to Poland and Cyprus and now it is Greece’s turn.
“These direct attacks are coming from many of the same governments and institutions who have sworn to protect their Jewish Communities.
“What we are witnessing is rank hypocrisy. When it comes to antisemitism, governments and institutions rightly stand behind us. But when our faith and practice is assailed left and right by laws, they are nowhere to be seen, nowhere to be found.
“What use is it to protect Jews while legislating fundamental pillars of our religion out of existence?
We will urgently making representations to the highest levels of the Greek government to get direct answers to this simple but fundamental question: How can there be Jews in Europe if you keep bringing in laws against us? Ends

Coronavirus heavily impacts French Jewish community, ZAKA buries victims

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Peretz, head of ZAKA France, alerted the Jewish community, saying that "we are counting bodies, and you are still debating the quarantine measures."

As of Wednesday night, France reported that 11,539 people were hospitalized after testing positive for coronavirus and 1,331 people  died from the virus, including some Jewish people.On social media, including many Facebook groups, a list of French Jews infected with the coronavirus was published and is being updated almost daily, people urging the community to pray and read tehillim for them.

In a recent statement, ZAKA claimed that many victims from the coronavirus in France are Jewish and that the organization's volunteers are burring Jewish victims every day. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Peretz, head of ZAKA France, alerted the Jewish community, saying that "we are counting bodies, and you are still debating the quarantine measures."

"We are in difficult times, we have a very hard job as we take care every day of the Jews who died as a result of the virus," he added. "It is very difficult to describe the situation with what we face here every day."
Rabbi Peretz said that important Rabbis from the community are among the victims."Last Saturday, Rabbi Touboul, head of the Beit Hanna and Chaya Mushka schools in Paris, some of the largest Chabad schools for girls in Europe, died suddenly," he said.
"We worked to fulfill Rabbi Touboul's will to be buried in Israel. We were able to reach an agreement with the Israeli Ministry of Health, we received very strict instructions on how to treat the deceased according to Jewish law and the Health Ministry guidelines in order to bury him in Israel."

Rabbi Touboul was buried on Tuesday at the Mount of Olives Cemetery in Jerusalem.
ZAKA's French head also added that tonight, a French aircraft will land at Ben Gurion Airport, carrying three coffins with the bodies of Jews who died in France from the coronavirus to be buried in Israel.
Among them will be Rabbi Hamou, a major rabbi and community leader of the Mekor Chaim community in Paris, who fought for his life for about a week in the hospital.
In the statement ZAKA begs the Jewish community in France, in Israel, and around the world, to stay home.
"Please, for your own benefit and for your families, apply the Ministry of Health guidelines to stay home, to stay alive,"  ZAKA said.
Actualité Juive, a major Jewish newspaper in France, asked in a recent report if the Jewish community is over-represented among those infected with the coronavirus in the country.
"There was, without any doubt, a certain skepticism in the community," recognized the Chief Rabbi of France Haïm Korsia. "At first, people may have thought that the risk could not exist in their immediate family," he added.
But today, the Jewish community has realized the emergency of the situation and the importance of staying at home, according to Actualité Juive.

The article was published on the JPost

New Cooperation with The Jewish Community of the NIG Twente

The European Jewish Association is proud and delighted to welcome another organisation to our growing roster of partners and communities.
We have just concluded and signed a memorandum of understanding with The Jewish Community of the NIG Twente.
We are sure that this cooperation will bring with it beautiful and important accomplishments. We look forward to working for the betterment of Dutch and European Jewry together.

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In these trying times, our advisory board member Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs (Netherlands) has some wise and inspiring words for those of us lamenting our confinement. His personal “dear me” letter is a must read and share! Thank you Rabbi.

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