European Parliament in Strasbourg debates President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital , Leading Rabbi asks Parliament leadership to act as ‘voices of Reason’

December 14, 2017

The European Parliament is set to discuss Tuesday in Strasbourg US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The debate in the plenary session of the parliament will focus on the status granted to the city by Presdient Trump who set out last Wednesday his intention to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that was subsequently backed up by two EU member states, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
STRASBOURG —The European Parliament is set to discuss Tuesday in Strasbourg US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The debate in the plenary session of the parliament will focus on the status granted to the city by Presdient Trump who set out last Wednesday his intention to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that was subsequently backed up by two EU member states, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
The decision has prompted a backlash and led to violence on the Palestinian side.
Some officials in Europe have asserted that the American decision will ignite tensions in the region.
Ahead of the Strasbourg debate, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the founder and Director of the Brussels based European Jewish Association which represents Jews across the continent, wrote a letter to the European Parliament President, Vice-Presidents and heads of political groups asking them to act as “voices of Reason” during the debate. 
In his letter Rabbi Margolin said, ‘Some have asserted that this decision will ignite tensions in the region. It should be noted that some Member States unilaterally recognised the State of Palestine even before the respective parties reached understandings.’’
He continued, ‘The European Parliament has a delegation for relations with Palestine which was put in place before official state recognition and before the parties again reached understandings. There are Palestinian embassies all over the world, before the parties reached understandings.‘President Trump did not say that united Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. He said the borders will be discussed during the negotiations between the sides.’
For Rabbi Margolin,  the furore over the US move is ‘’unwarranted, unjustified and is one-sided to say the least.’’
‘’Furthermore such voices reward the incitement to violence and violence that is being perpetuated on the Palestinian side. Such a reward would be incompatible and would not be expected from the House that you represent,’’ reads the letter to the MEPs.
“I earnestly hope that voices of reason will prevail during the debate, and you will use the opportunity to remind the house of the facts outlined in my letter,”  Rabbi Margolin concluded.   

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Multi-faceted Jerusalem businessman Rami Levy, best known for his chain of discount supermarkets, is helping to provide tefillin (phylacteries) and prayer shawls for needy European Jews who do not possess these essential religious accoutrements and cannot afford to purchase them. Levy has made a very handsome contribution to the Rabbinical Center of Europe at the request of the organization’s CEO Rabbi Arye Goldberg, who initiated the tefillin project in memory of the late Rabbi Benjamin Wolf, the
spiritual leader of the Jewish community of Hanover, who fell victim to coronavirus two months ago. This is not the first time that Levy has been involved with the RCE. He continues to donate to another of its projects, which is to bring European bar mitzvah boys to Israel.

■ FOR THE past 38 years, Jeff Seidel has been running student information centers in Jerusalem as well as Shabbat and Jewish home hospitality for lone soldiers, students and tourists. It was very tough during lockdown, because there were tourists and students who had not left the country and there were plenty of lone soldiers. Things are a little easier now that restrictions have been relaxed and greater social interaction has been permitted. A lot of people are still wary of going to restaurants, weddings and bar mitzvahs, and there are some who are also very cautious about admitting guests to their homes. For those who want to get back into the swing of hosting guests on Shabbat and showing them the brighter side of Israel, Seidel can be contacted at (02) 638-2634 or 052-286-7795. Last Friday, Seidel managed at the last minute, to find Shabbat hospitality for a group of gap year students.
TRAGEDY IS one of the most unifying factors in Israeli society. Political and religious differences are put on the back burner as the nation comes together to help to hope, and too often, to grieve. That was the case six years ago when three teenage yeshiva boys Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shaer, and Naftali Fraenkel unknowingly hitched a ride with Hamas terrorists, who kidnapped and murdered them.

The boys were standing outside Alon Shvut in the Etzion Bloc, waiting for a car that might be going their way.

For 18 agonizing days, the nation came together and joined the three families in praying for the safe return of the three boys.

Only after the discovery of their bodies was it learned that they had been killed soon after their capture. The nationwide outpouring of solidarity with the families during the waiting period, at the funeral and after the tragedy, prompted the creation of the annual Jerusalem Unity Prize.

Nir Barkat, who was then the mayor of Jerusalem, during a condolence visit to the families suggested that something be done to commemorate the three teenagers, and together with the Gesher organization and the three sets of parents – Iris and Uri Yifrah; Bat-Galim and Ofir Shaer; and Rachel and Avraham Fraenkel – in September, 2014, decided to establish the Jerusalem Unity Prize, with an official announcement to that effect at the President’s Residence in January, 2015.
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This year’s awards ceremony was broadcast on video with only President Rieuven Rivlin and his closest aides, Barkat and his wife Beverly, the prize winners and the Yifrah, Shaer and Fraenkel couples in attendance.

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In the “national” category, the Joint Council of Pre-Military Academies (Mechinot) for their work to bring together different views and building trust between the member institutions for the good of the national mission of educating the next generation.

In the “international” category, Hakhel, the incubator for Jewish intentional communities for opening a door and building communities for every Jew, whoever and wherever they are, and for strengthening Jewish identity.
The article was published on the JPost

Israel #YouAreNotAlone

Please share far and wide. And take a minute yourselves to write a message.
#YouAreNotAlone – Supportive messages for Israelis under fire.
“You are not alone” is a European Jewish Association initiative that encourages the public across Europe to write short messages of support to families in Israel suffering under hundreds of indiscriminate rocket attacks on towns and villages. Families who feel isolated and unsupported as the world looks on passively.
By writing a short personal message you can show you care. That you stand with them, that “you are not alone”.
Each and every message sent through the portal on our dedicated webpage will be translated into Hebrew, then delivered and shared to the areas most under fire, offering comfort and support to those taking shelter with their families.
It only takes a minute to show you care. And it’s a minute that means so much.
www.ejassociation.eu/you-are-not-alone/

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Meeting with Mart Laidmets, Secretary General at the Ministry of Education and Research of the Republic of Estonia

Last week, on 7 November 2019, the European Jewish Association and our partners from the Action and Protection Foundation/ Hungary/ have gathered in Brussels to further advance ongoing work on the European Curriculum and Textbook Project against Antisemitism. Incidentally, the meeting took place just a day after a similar one in Riga, Latvia.
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Following a description of the earlier seven-year programme implemented in Hungary, its characteristics and outcomes, the Estonian system of education has been discussed – its gradual development over the past decades, international cooperation with foreign partners, realization of various EU programmes as well as transition to a web-based learning system at schools, which nowadays is one of the most advanced in Europe.
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We are most thankful to Mr. Laidmets and the Ministry for this opportunity to meet and discuss the initiative, and eagerly look forward to further contacts on the present subject and others.
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