Dozens of Jewish communities and organizations from across the continent, along with Senior Members of the European Commision and parliament, participated on Monday in a special meeting at our HQ that was initiated by Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the EJA.
The special debate took place against a backdrop of a sharp rise in anti-Semitism across the continent and attempts by legislators in parliaments in various countries to drive a coach and horses through the EU enshrined principle of freedom of religion by banning the observance of Jewish customs such as kosher slaughter and circumcision.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin warned the participants that: "Attempts to prevent Jewish slaughter and circumcision are not really for the sake of protecting the child or the animals. This legislation should be called out for what it is- it is antisemitic legislation! Initiatives that attempt restrict the religious freedom of Jews across Europe are not on hold because of Corona or the economic crisis.
‘We cannot afford to take our eye off the ball as it could roll over into other European countries and affect hundreds of thousands of Jews. "
Special guest via Zoom from Israel, Diaspora Minister Omar Yankelevich re-iterated her commitment to the Jewish diaspora adding that: "Denying the principle of Jewish freedom of religion means denying Jews the ability to live in Europe. We will continue to expand our activities in order to strengthen Jewish identity throughout Europe through investment in Jewish schools, development of programs and informal activities for different age groups, support for communities and strengthening their community resilience."
With the presence of European Commission Vice-President H.E. Margaritis Schinas, Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi, the Secretary-General of the largest political grouping n Europe – the EPP -, EuropeanParliament First Vice-President Nicola Beer, heads of community such as Joel Mergui, President of the French Consistoire, Cief Rabbi Binyomen Jacobs of the Nerherlands amongst many others, all resolved to protect “the three pillars of respect” that make Jews feel welcome in Europe: Respect fort he lessons of the Holocaust, repect for the workds only Jewsh state, Israel, and a respect fort he fundametal right of freedom of religion.