Edelstein: Belgium must fight ignorance about Jews and Israel

Belgian Ambassador says his country is "heartbroken" by terror attack; MKs express concern about growing anti-Semitism in Europe.

May 27, 2014 16:38
2 minute read.
Yuli Edelstein and Belgian ambassador to Israel, John Cornet d'Elzius

Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein (L) meets with Beligum's ambassador to Israel, John Cornet d'Elzius.. (photo credit: KNESSET SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)


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Belgium must fight ignorance to curb anti-Semitism, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein told Belgium’s Ambassador to Israel John Cornet d’Elzius Tuesday.

The two met following Saturday’s terror attack on the Jewish Museum of Brussels, in which three people were killed, and d’Elzius also appeared before the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee.

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“Our hearts are broken. We are all in shock from the incident,” d’Elzius told Edelstein. “I send to you, as the speaker of the Israeli parliament, condolences from the Belgian people. We are determined to fight anti-Semitism.”

Edelstein responded that he knows Belgium is working hard to catch the killer. “We must fight ignorance about Israel and the Jewish people so that things like this don’t happen again, and we can do that by informing people. This is an important goal for both countries,” Edelstein responded.

Later Tuesday, Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee chairman Yoel Razbozov (Yesh Atid) said anti-Semitism is growing in Europe and Diaspora Jewry is in danger.

Razbozov added that he would ask the Knesset House Committee to form a joint panel between his committee and the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to deal with anti-Semitism and cooperation with other countries to try to fight the phenomenon.

Knesset Diplomatic Adviser Oded Ben-Hur said increasing security in the Jewish communities are “just a bandage, but we want to prevent the wound.”

“We need to build a future in which xenophobia and anti-Semitism will not revive. As such, educational efforts need to begin,” Ben-Hur said.

MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid) said “there is a direct connection between the way European leaders speak about Israel and the rise in anti-Semitism. If your leaders speak about delegitimization of Israel and use exaggerated and even inciting terms relating to Israel’s policies, that breeds these attacks and ideologies.”

Anyone who allows neo-fascism and anti-Semitism in his country will find trouble, MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud Beytenu) said, telling the Belgian ambassador that his government needs to be more aware of anti-Jewish actions.

“This is also a danger to Belgium as an enlightened democracy,” Rivlin added.

MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu) pointed out that thousands of fighters in Syria came from Europe.

“At this rate, there will be thousands of terrorists around the continent,” he said. “This is a basis for widespread terror, and European governments need to deal with this before it’s too late and the streets of Europe are targeted by terrorists.”

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