October 20, 2023

Under the auspices of Belgian MP Michael Freilich, leaders of the 3 major religions came together today in a moment of unity to promote peace and tolerance. (Photos: Michael Freilich/ BELGA)

Jewish MP Michael Freilich: “Given the tensions in our streets, the attack in Brussels, the attack on Jewish targets in Europe and the terrible suffering of war in the Middle East, I decided to take this step and invite Chief Rabbi Pinchas Padwa, Imam Nordine Taouil and priest Rik Hoet to the heart of our democracy, the Parliament in Brussels.”

The press was present in large numbers to attend the reading of a joint statement.

Rabbi Padwa: “We extend a warm call to all people of goodwill in our communities and beyond: Let us join hands, join positive forces and show unity for building a warm society – across our different ideas and beliefs. As this meeting today makes clear, this is absolutely possible.”

Imam Taouil: “There is so much more that unites us than what divides us. Let us not import conflicts from elsewhere and let our lives be guided by extreme ideas and views.
In this country, we are all fellow citizens, neighbours, friends and/or trading partners. Our fragile social fabric, especially in these anxious times, deserves to be nurtured and strengthened. The recent Abraham Accords are an encouraging step in the right direction.

Priest Hoet: “Bringing together different cultures and faiths, sharing joyful moments and building a common future are positive steps that we warmly welcome and encourage.”
Freilich concluded, “Let us strive for peace, warm citizenship and closeness, pause to remember every innocent victim, and resolutely reject and condemn terrorism.”

Rabbi Padwa asked for a moment of prayer, each in their own distinct way, to promote peace.

Additional Articles

Are the Abraham Accords stronger thant the war between Israel and Hamas?

”We want everyone to acknowledge and accept that Israel is there to exist and that the roots of Jews, Christian are not in New York or Paris but here in our region. They are part of our history and they should be part of our future,’’ said Dr Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Defense, Interior and Foreign Affairs Committee of the United Arab Emirates Federal National Council.

‘’From the United Arab Emirates perspective, the Abraham Accords are there to stay,’’ said Dr Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Defense, Interior and Foreign Affairs Committee of the UAE Federal National Council, who played a leading role in the 2020 accords which normalized relations between Israel and several Arab countries.

”This the third war in Gaza. Whenever there is something happening in Gaza, people come to us and ask: ‘What do you think of the Abraham Accords. Are you going to change ? ‘’

‘’The Accords are our future. It is not an agreement between two governements but a platform that we believe should transform the region where everyone will enjoy security, stability and prosperity,” he said as reports say that Iran’s main interest was—and remains—to prevent the United States from brokering Saudi-Israel normalization.

‘’This is a  people to people engagement. This is what we need. We want everyone to acknowledge and accept that Israel is there to exist and that the roots of Jews, Christian are not in New York or  Paris but here in our region. They are part of our history and they should be part of our future,’’ added Dr Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, during a special online briefing organized by the European Jewish Association (EJA) together with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the largest pro-Israel adocacy group in the U.S.

‘’We want to change the educational system and religious narrative. It is very important to understand that there are enemies for what we are doing. Those terrorist organisations don’t respect human life. Don’t let them achieve their goals. No person with a human feeling and common sense will agree with the barbarian terrorist attack that Hamas committed on October 7. No one,’’ he added.

He stressed the need to differenciate between Hamas and the Palestinian people. ‘’Our enemies took advantage of this. We need those who believe in peace in Europe, the US and everywhere to counter the hate narrative that we see in demonstrations in Paris and London.’’

Other speakers included Nicola Beer, Vice-President of the European Parliament who noted that the Abraham Accords ‘’are a good tool to support Israel and peace in the region.’’

‘’We need to make a difference between terrorists and the Palestinian people. The aggressor is Hamas and not Israel. We need to fight against terror everywhere,’’ she said.

‘’We stand strong with Israel and its right to defend itself against Hamas terror. We also understand that in the long run there must be peace for the people of Israel, Palestine and the whole Middle East.’’

On the EU’s position during a vote of a resolution on the war at the United Nations General Assembly last week, the German MEP from the Renew group, criticized those EU countries who voted in favor of a text that didn’t even mention the Hamas massacres committed in south of Israel.

‘’I would like all countries in the EU to vote like the Czech Republic and Austria who voted against,’’ she said.

U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL), who is co-chair and co-founder of the Abraham Accords Caucus and a member of the Hiouse of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said : ‘’ On October 7, Hamas committed a heinous terrorist attack, brutally, barbarically slaughtering 1400 people. They used murder, torture, rape as a strategy, as a goal. This is  clearly a war crime. There is no justification for this attack. Hamas is an norganisation dedicated to the genocidal vision of eliminating the state of Israel and killing Jews. What we see now is Israel taking action to secure its borders, protect its citizens and rescue the hostages, as well as elilminating Hamas from control of Gaza and from threatening Israel.’’

Former Israeli Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Idan Roll emphasized the need to have full backing from the moderate Arab states. ‘’We want not Israel but someone else than Hamas to be responsible for the Gaza Strip. When we left Gaza in 2005, Hamas choose not to build and develop it but made it a terrorist hub.We will not go back to the same scenario.’’

‘’When we see the demonstrations in Europe, it is not about the two-state solution but about ‘ Palestine from the river to the sea’ which means no more Israel. Young people are manipulated. Anyone who supports what is going in Europe, supports terror,’’ he said.

by Yossi Lempkowicz

Brussels Office Hosts 'She's Gone Exhibition' in Collaboration with EJCC, Featuring Distinguished Speakers and Performances

In collaboration with our EJCC colleagues, we helped host the “She’s Gone Exhibition” here at our office in Brussels.

The event began with a welcome from Mrs. Nehama-Dina Uzan, the Programme Director of the European Jewish Community Centre (EJCC), followed by a speech from H.E. Ambassador Idit Rosenzweig Abu, the Head of Mission at the Embassy of Israel to Belgium & Luxembourg.

The programme included a performance of the short song “Slaap kindje slaap” by Sarina Cohn. Keren Yehezkeli Goldstein, the Creator and Director of the She’s Gone Art Installation and an Israeli documentary director, showcased her work and discussed her collaborations with various institutions, including the Israeli Ministry of Education and the Israeli Police Force, focusing on the prevention of domestic violence.

Professor Yifat Bitton, a Law Professor and Co-founder and Chair of the Israeli Center for Equality, Tmura, spoke about her advocacy for gender and origin equality, highlighting her roles as President of Achva Academic College and Chairwoman of the Israeli National Board of Public Colleges. Lastly, Orit Sulitzeanu, the Executive Director of The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel (ARCCI) since 2013, presented the organization’s work towards eradicating sexual violence against women in Israel.




Association calls on EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell to condemn and Prime Minister Sanchez to distance the government.In a statement this evening, the European Jewish Association, representing hundreds of Jewish Communities across Europe, said:“The Spanish Vice-President, Yolanda Diaz, is openly calling for the genocide of the world’s only Jewish State, Israel.“This cannot and must not stand. We immediately call on Josep Borrell to condemn this. EU Member States have obligations under the treaties not to call for the annihilation of third countries.

“We immediately call for Prime Minister Sanchez to distance the Spanish Government from these genocidal remarks.

“The Vice-President’s from the river to the sea call carries with it echoes of the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Spain in 1492, not to mention the thousands burned alive in auto-da-fe’s. Her statement is also an endorsement of Hamas’ ideology.“

She must resign.”


Antisemitism in Paris university: Jewish student barred from entering because she was “Jewish” and therefore “Zionist”

The student was prevented from entering because she was J”ewish and therefore a Zionist.”

French President Emmanuel Macron called the incident “unspeakable and perfectly intolerable.”

A Jewish student was barred from entering a lecture hall at the elite French university Sciences Po by pro-Palestinian demonstrators who occupied the place and renamed it “Gaza Amphitheater”.

The student, who is a member of the Union of Jewish Students in France (UEJF),  was greeted with shouts of “Don’t let her in, she’s a Zionist.’’

The hall was lined with Palestinian flags and keffiyehs. Outside the university, students, including UEJF members, were also taken to task by pro-Palestinian activists. While the UEJF members called for a minute’s silence for all the victims of Hamas and for the release of the hostages, the pro-Palestinian activists responded in the negative, chanting “From the river to the sea,’’ a slogan which means the destruction of the State of Israel.

At a cabinet meeting, French President Emmanuel Macron, who is himself a Sciences Po alumnus, called the incident “unspeakable and perfectly intolerable.”

The Minister for Gender Equality, Aurore Bergé,  wrote on X that “what’s going on here has a name, anti-Semitism.’’.

The student was encouraged to file a legal complaint.µ

France – which is home to the world’s largest Jewish population after Israel and the United States and to Europe’s biggest Muslim community – has seen a rise in anti-Semitic acts and pro-Palestinian protests since Hamas militants attacked Israel on October 7.

According to a survey  published at the end of last year, 9 in 10 French Jews attending universities have had an experience with antisemitism.

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