Responding to the news that the Hungarian government has made Hungary’s Emih, Hungarian Jewry’ principal Jewish community, the custodians of the Jewish Museum “House of Fates”, the Chairman and Founder of the European Jewish Association, Rabbi Menachem Margolin welcomed the move and rounded on critics as pretending to speak for Hungary’ Jews.
In a statement Rabbi Margolin said,
“The Emih community was founded in 1877 and re-constituted in 2004. Since then it has been leading from the front when it comes to the remarkable and inspiring revival of Hungary’s Jewish community.
It counts 16 Rabbis acting on behalf of its community in Hungary’s 3 main cities. It is the only community that provides Kosher certification and performs circumcisions. It is the only community to have published, in Hungarian, a Siddur, Machzor, Haggadah and Chumash. Additionally it runs 6 synagogues and leads spiritually another 3 in Hungary. It runs a kindergarten, school, high school and University and Rabbinical college. It also founded the most important organisation in Hungary that monitors Anti-Semitism – Action and Protection – an organisation that enjoys widespread support among Hungarian Jewry. In the upcoming year, Emih will renew another 3 synagogues in Hungary. There is no doubt that Emih is responsible for the Jewish renaissance in Hungary.
Little wonder therefor that Emih is recognised by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, and that the Hungarian government has chosen it to act as custodians for this important museum. This is the first time that a government has given up voluntarily, a museum or memorial and placed it in the hands of the Jewish community. This is to be celebrated not belittled.
Anyone that is critical of this move is showing how far they are removed the community and realities on the ground. Attempts to politicise such a positive step underlines the very real need for communities like Emih, particularly as the Hungarian government is one of the few in Europe that continues to provide support and is helping to create the conditions needed for a flourishing Jewish community through its unambiguous support for Isreal and Freedom of religion.
On 8 December, Vice-President Věra Jourová and Vice-President Margaritis Schinas participated in the 4th meeting of the Working Group on combating antisemitism. Vice-President Schinas opened the meeting with remarks on stepping up the fight against antisemitism, while Vice-President Jourová will deliver closing remarks in the afternoon. The meeting was focused on the development of national strategies against antisemitism, the practical use of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, and fighting against antisemitic prejudices as part of civic orientation measures based on the EC Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion.
Values and Transparency Vice-President Věra Jourová said: ‘It is more important than ever to think critically, to not believe immediately what you read and hear. Countering disinformation and promoting democracy are crucial principles to our democratic societies and to the functioning of the European Union.”
Vice President Schinas said: “In 2021 we will present with our first comprehensive EU strategy on combating antisemitism. Our message is clear: Europe is determined to win this fight. Europe is proud of its Jewish communities and stands by its Jewish communities.”
The European Commission created the ad-hoc Working Group on antisemitism within the existing high-level member states expert group on racism and xenophobia to help member states in the implementation of the Council Declaration on the fight against antisemitism and the development of a common security approach to better protect Jewish communities and institutions in Europe of 6 December 2018. More information on the Commission’s work to tackle antisemitism can be found here.
Norway’s foreign minister on Thursday announced that funds earmarked for the Palestinian Authority’s education sector would be withheld until changes were made to schoolbooks that promoted antisemitism and terrorist violence against Israelis.
The decision followed a vote last December in the Norwegian parliament to demand such changes after the publication of a report by IMPACT-se — an NGO that analyzes school textbooks around the world for signs of intolerance — that demonstrated systematic insertions of violence, martyrdom and jihad across all grades and subjects in the textbooks used by the PA.
Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said that when she met with PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in Ramallah in February, she had “communicated the government’s views on the matter, stressing that lack of improvements in the school curriculum could have budgetary implications for future Norwegian aid.”
Søreide expressed optimism that changes to the textbooks would be implemented. “We feel that there is a good and close dialogue with the Palestinian education authorities on the issue,” she said. “Some of the curriculum changes have already been made by Palestine’s own textbook quality control committee.”
A statement from IMPACT-se praised Søreide for her “unprecedented decision.”
“This remarkable pronouncement is a clear message that Norway’s elected leaders will not allow their generosity to be abused, to deliver a daily diet of violence, bigotry and incitement against Jews and Israel in Palestinian schools,” the NGO declared.
The article was published in the Algemeiner
It’s a challenging time for Jewish communities in Europe. Anti-Semitism is on the rise as populism and the politics of the lowest common denominator are gaining traction. Our communities often need round the clock protection and our practices and customs such as keeping Kosher are under pressure from increasing political interference.
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