European Rabbis Gather for Annual Conference of Largest Rabbinical Organisation

March 12, 2024

A memorial for the victims of the October 7th tragedy was inaugurated in Oporto, Portugal, with the presence of 150 European and Israeli Rabbis. Organised by various Jewish associations, including the Rabbinical Centre of Europe, the ceremony was marked by speeches from prominent figures, including Rabbi Netanel Lev, whose son was among the casualties. Rabbi Binyamin Jacobs reflected on the mixed emotions surrounding the event, highlighting the global condemnation of antisemitism and the acceptance of Israel’s condemnation. Rabbi Eli Rosenfeld emphasised the resilience of the Jewish people. The cemetery, named “Isaac Aboab Field of Equality,” symbolises Jewish life in Oporto, rising from the ashes of past persecution. Rabbi Yoel Zekri underscored its significance in honoring both past and present Jewish generations. The ceremony concluded with gratitude towards the Oporto Jewish Community for commemorating the victims and hoping for the safe return of abducted individuals.

Additional Articles

Vendor sells Nazi gear at motorcycle rally

A vendor at a major motorcycle rally in Florida briefly sold hats emblazoned with Nazi symbols, saying she considered them a tribute to World War II veterans who helped defeat the Germans.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that the vendor was selling the hats embroidered with swastikas and a skull-and-bones logo used by the Nazi SS at a stand during Biketoberfest, an ongoing festival that draws thousands of bikers to the Daytona Beach area this month.
The vendor said she had sold the hats at other biker rallies around the country without complaint. The woman also sells rings, wallet chains and hats without Nazi logos.
 Read More:
https://www.ynetnews.com/article/s1jnl4frt

Red Lines Follow-Up: Meeting with Special Envoy for Promotion of Freedom of Religion outside the EU

Earlier today, the EJA’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Alex Benjamin, and its Political Affairs Advisor, Mr. Mihails Vorobeičiks-Mellers, have had the honour of once again meeting with Mr. Ján Figeľ, Special Envoy for Promotion of Freedom of Religion outside the EU. With the function itself created only in May 2016, Mr. Figeľ, former EU Commissioner and Deputy Prime Minister of Slovakia, became the first person to hold the position. The policy framework for the Special Envoy’s mandate is regulated by the “EU Guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief”, which have been approved by the EU Member States back in 2013.

With the nearing European Parliament elections coming in May this year, the meeting took place at a time of notable significance, both to the EU – and wider Europe – as a whole and its Jewish community in particular. A number of topics have been touched upon, including the continuing rise in popularity of the more radical political ideologies on both ends of the political spectrum, possible – and, regrettably, nowadays observable – legal limitations to the freedom of religion, the European Commission’s role in promoting and protecting the respective rights of the EU’s inhabitants as well as the 5 red lines, which have been recently adopted during our conference back in November 2018.

Since Mr. Figeľ’s mandate encompasses the entirety of the world outside the Union, and the EJA is active throughout Europe, this meeting has been particularly important to us. Thus, during the discussion special attention has also been given to the EU candidate countries and other European states neighbouring the Union. Along with the present and future lives of the local Jewish communities, such topical issues as the legality of ritual slaughter and circumcision have been specifically raised. 

We very much look forward to a continued dialogue and cooperation with Mr. Figeľ on issues of mutual interest and concern.

Naftali Bennett- New Israeli Prime Minister

Mazal Tov to Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. The first Kippah wearing leader the country has had so far (he will need as much divine providence as he can muster with all the challenges ahead!). As Israel opens a new chapter in its political history, we wish the government well, good luck, and to do us proud!

43 nations led by Austria pledge to combat antisemitism at UNHRC

At least 43 nations led by Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia pledged to combat antisemitism in a special statement issued at the 48th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
“We will remain steadfast in our pledge, never again,” said Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg as he issued a special video statement in which spoke about the danger of antisemitism.
“Even 75 years after the end of World War II it is a tragic reality that antisemitism is not a thing of the past,” Schallenberg stead.
Read more:
https://www.jpost.com/diaspora/antisemitism/43-nations-led-by-austria-pledge-to-combat-antisemitism-at-unhrc-681049
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