Head of European Jewish Association: We're not wanted here

September 10, 2019

As ban on kosher slaughter takes hold in most of Belgium, Rabbi Menachem Margolin wants that legislation in some countries on the continent are making Jews feel like second class citizens
The latest ban on kosher slaughter in Europe is just another restriction placed on the continent's Jews and adds to the sense that the community is not wanted, says the head of the European Jewish Association (EJA).
"This is a true tragedy for the entire Jewish community," says Rabbi Menachem Margolin, regarding the recent prohibition of kosher slaughter in the Wallonia region of Belgium
The Wallonia ban joins a prohibition on kosher slaughter in the northern Flanders region of Belgium, making the Jewish ritual effectively illegal in two thirds of the country, where more than 40,000 Jews reside.
The rabbi, himself a Belgian citizen, sees growing restrictions and limitations on the rights of the European Jewish communities all over
the continent, and does not accept the humanitarian reasons legislators cling to in explaining the ban on kosher slaughter.
"Hunting for fun and sport is still allowed in Belgium," Margolin tells Ynet. "More animals are killed by hunting across Belgium than by kosher slaughter, not to mention the problemetic conditions of regular slaughter, which are allowed throughout the country.
"From the way the animals are transported to the food they eat and the conditions they live in, there are endless problems regarding the treatment of animals in Belgium. Jewish people care for the animals, and kosher slaughter is much more humane then any other forms of slaughter."
Although anti-Semitism in Europe is on the rise, Margolin doesn't see it as the reason for the new law; instead he blames political lobbyists.
"The real tragedy is the fact that the politicians who were so moved by the animal rights lobbyists ignored the pleas of the Jewish community, and this kind of law makes the entire Jewish population of the country feel unwelcome."

A kosher restaurant in Antwerp, Belgium (Photo: AP)
A kosher restaurant in Antwerp, Belgium (photo: AP)
The rabbi says that the new legislation makes Jews feel unwanted in Europe.
"The main issue is not the meat itself - we can eat fish and pasta if we want - it's whether we feel safe and wanted, it's whether we need to find another place to live," he says.
"Some of the countries in Europe, whether on purpose or not, give their local Jewish communities the feeling they're not wanted in their own country, like they're second-class citizens, like they have less rights than other citizens. This is indeed a tragedy."
But, Margolin says, European Jews cannot surrender in the battle for their religious rights.
"We need to work very hard, and even now, we're not giving up," he says. "We successfully prevented the ban on kosher slaughter and circumcision in Holland, Poland and other countries, I'm sure this time we'll succeed as well."
Margolin is also doubtful that the changes in law will push members of the Jewish communtiy to move to Israel.
"People don’t usually want to move unless they have a noose around their neck," he says.
The article was published on Ynet News

Additional Articles

Mogherini in a letter to EJA Chairman: "I have a personal obligation to fight anti-Semitism"

European Union Foreign Minister, Federica Mogherini To the Chairman of the Union of Jewish Organizations in Europe (EJA), Rabbi Menachem Margolin:
"I have a personal obligation to fight anti-Semitism. We must fight every day against those who harm or show contempt for the memory of the Holocaust "
In light of the growing controversy with the Polish government with regards to the Holocaust Bill, EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini wrote to Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the Union of Jewish Organizations in Europe (EJA), stating her personal commitment to target and combat anti-Semitism.
In a personal letter sent by Mogherini to Rabbi Margolin, she said: "The struggle against anti-Semitism is a personal goal for me. It is 70 Years sonce the Holocaust and manifestations of anti-Semitism and hate crimes are on the rise again in Europe. The European Union cannot exist without the memory of the Holocaust and certainly cannot exist without the Jews of the continent. " "It is important that our children learn about the Holocaust in schools and visit the camps in order to understand the enormity of the atrocities and to ensure that they never return," she said.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the Union of Jewish Organizations in Europe (EJA), expressed great appreciation for Mrs Mogherini’s continuing personal commitment to the struggle against anti-Semitism and to preserve Holocaust memory, but warned that "the struggle against anti-Semitism and the memory of the Holocaust cannot be detached from the current political climate in the continent . Only in recent weeks have we been witness not only to attempts to damage the memory of the Holocaust from the ruling party in Poland, but also to attempts to enact laws banning circumcision (Iceland) or imposing scandalous restrictions on kosher slaughter (Poland), severely harming freedom of religion and the very fabric of Jewish life throughout the continent - Principles that are the guiding principles of the European Union, but which the EU is still not doing enough to safeguard and to prevent such legislation. "

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Our New Project: Medical Equipment Lending Center

The European Jewish Association and the Rabbinical Centre of Europe are delighted to announce a brand new project that we are rolling out across Europe, directly helping the sick and needy with the often expensive costs associated with securing much needed medical equipment.
Our brand new medical equipment lending centre means that the sick and immobile needn’t worry about buying wheelchairs, or expensive crutches walkers and the like.
We will provide them to communities on a need-by-need basis at no cost. When recuperation is over, the items simply get returned to the local community lending branch centre and passed to the next person that needs them.
This simple, effective project overseen by us but run at branch level by communities is open to everyone, but supplies are limited.
For more information on setting up a branch, or to apply for help. Please contact us at: info@ejassociatio.eu or databse@rce.eu.com

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