Yom Ha’atzmaut message from Chief Rabbi Jacobs

April 14, 2021

As a rabbi, I prefer not to get involved in politics and my opinion is that a politician should not interfere with religion. But where does politics start and where do rabbinical matters end? Is euthanasia a religious matter or a political problem? And who decides how far freedom of education extends?
That difference is even more unclear in Israel, because: “Israel without Torah is like a body without soul”, one can’t separate the State of Israel from Judaism. And therefore, we see in the Knesset politicians with rabbinical opinions and rabbis as politicians.
But even the Jew who is not an Israeli resident has the conviction that he may state his opinion and interfere with Israeli political decisions because, he argues, without centuries of daily prayers in which we asked G’d to allow us to return to Jerusalem, Israel would not be today an Independent State. However, my opinion is that just as the Israeli citizen does not make statements about the Dutch Prime Minister, Rutte, we, not living in Israel, shouldn’t interfere in internal Israeli politics.
However, non-Jewish society sees us as an extension of Israel. Over and over again, I have to explain that I am Dutch and that the compliment that my Dutch is so fluent, is misplaced. You’re not going to give that compliment to the bishop or the preacher, do you? But in according with their opinion “the Jew is Israel and Israel is the Jew”.
And yet there is a heart of truth in their falsehood, for Jews know themselves interconnected by Jerusalem, our capital, where one day the Third Temple will rise when the ultimate peace will be there “for all inhabitants of Your earth.”
And until then? When Netanyahu called upon French Jews to emigrate to Israel because of anti-Semitic violence, I was pushed in front of a journalist’s microphone and was asked, “Rabbi, what do you think of Netanyahu’s call? Do you really believe that there is no place for Jews in the Netherlands anymore?” Wow, I thought, that’s a tricky one. It is not possible to request time for reflection, to say that Jews no longer belong in Europe is unwise and disagree in public with Netanyahu does not seem right. And therefore, my diplomatic, rabbinical and politically coloured answer was: Great we have got Israel for all those who must escape anti-Semitism. My parents had nowhere to go. But if and when I go on aliyah, will not be determined by fear for terrorism. I decide for myself, because I am independent, like the State of Israel!

Additional Articles

Greece’s top court bars ritual slaughter, after recent EU ruling upholding bans

The highest court in Greece has ruled against allowing ritual slaughter, fulfilling fears that some Jewish leaders voiced last year after the European Union’s top court ruled in support of such bans.
Last December, the EU’s highest court upheld the bans imposed in regions of Belgium against slaughtering animals for meat without stunning them first. The ruling meant that slaughter in accordance with Jewish law, which requires animals be conscious when their necks are cut, would be prohibited in those regions, as it is in some other parts of Europe.
Greece’s top court doesn’t cite that ruling in its decision on a petition filed by the Panhellenic Animal Welfare and Environmental Federation, according to the Greek news site Protothema. But Jewish watchdogs who have been monitoring bans on ritual slaughter across the European continent say the connection is undeniable.
“We warned in December about the downstream consequences that the European Court of Justice ruling carried with it, and now we see the outcome,” says Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the European Jewish Association. “Jewish freedom of religion is under direct attack. It started in Belgium, moved to Poland and Cyprus and now it is Greece’s turn.”
The Greek court says there should be ways to meet the demands of animal rights advocates and the needs of Jews and Muslims who follow the laws about food in their traditions.
“The government should regulate the issue of slaughtering animals in the context of worship in such a way as to ensure both the protection of animals from any inconvenience during slaughter and the religious freedom of religious Muslims and Jews living in Greece,” the court says, according to Protothema.
https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/greeces-top-court-bars-ritual-slaughter-after-recent-eu-ruling-upholding-bans/

Antisemitism - Overview of data available in the European Union 2006–2016

New extremely important report recently published by the EU Agency for Fundamental rights.
This report provides an overview of data on antisemitism as recorded by international organisations and by official and unofficial sources in the 28 European Union (EU) Member States, based on their own definitions and categorisations.
Antisemitism can be expressed in the form of verbal and physical attacks, threats, harassment, property damage and graffiti or other forms of speech or text, including on the internet. Antisemitic incidents and hate crime violate fundamental rights, including the right to human dignity, the right to equality of treatment and the freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
This annual overview compiles the available evidence on antisemitic incidents collected by governmental and non-governmental sources, covering the period 1 January 2006– 31 December 2016, where data are available. In addition, it includes a section that presents evidence from international organisations. No official data on reported antisemitic incidents in 2016 were available for 11 Member States by the time this report was compiled in September 2017.
‘Official data’ are understood here as those collected by law enforcement agencies, other authorities that are part of criminal justice systems and relevant state ministries at the national level. ‘Unofficial data’ refers to data collected by civil society organisations.
for the full report click HERE

NEVER MEANS NEVER Campain

This evening Israel will mark Yom Hazikaron laShoah ve-laG’vurah -Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day’.
For this occasion we invite you all to take part in the ‘NEVER MEANS NEVER’ campain by the
International March of the Living.
Take the opportunity to write your personal message
To be placed on the railroad tracks at Auschwitz-Birkenau
you can find all info here: https://nevermeansnever.com/

EUROPEAN JEWISH ASSOCIATION WELCOMES NEW AUSTRIAN GOVERNMENT’S REJECTION OF ANTI-SEMITISM

The European Jewish Association (EJA) today congratulated Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurtz on the establishment of the new Austrian government. In a statement, EJA Founder and Director Rabbi Menachem Margolin said:
“We remember Mr. Kurz as a foreign minister sensitive to the values of democracy and a friend of the Jewish people.
“In recent years, European Jewry has faced a wave of opposition to Jewish religious practices on the continent, as well as a worrying rise in the level of anti-Semitism and the popularity of extremist parties, both right and left.
‘Jewish Ethics denote that a people are never rejected personally, but their behavior and actions are’.
“For this reason, and in light of the statements made by the new government who all its members are united in condemning any expression of anti-Semitism, we congratulate the Austrian chancellor on his unprecedented achievement and his success in founding a stable government.
“Austria as an EU Member however poses a challenge. We cannot ignore the fear that in other countries extreme parties will join the government based on the Austrian model without the unambiguous rejection of anti-Semitism that Austria has provided.
“The European Jewish Association is asking the new government to join the United States, the European Union and other countries and to appoint a special government representative to initiate and coordinate government action to eradicate anti-Semitism and Xenophobia in Austria in the spirit of the anti-Semitic definitions adopted in the European Parliament in June 2017 and to clarify that freedom of religion in Austria will remain unchanged.”

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