Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein expects
the diplomatic crisis over an incendiary Swedish newspaper report to
take center stage next week when he meet s with Swedish Jewry in a
video conference with community representative.
the diplomatic crisis, which culminated with the cancellation of the
upcoming visit to Israel of Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt
Swedish Jews said they felt trapped between the arguing parties.
"I'm sure no one in the community has any doubt that Israel is
a free and democratic country that is not capable of doing the terrible
things that have appeared [in the Swedish media] recently," Edelstein
will tell the community leaders, referring to the Aftonbladet
alleging soldiers had harvested Palestinians' organs.
"Jews in Stockholm
, and in every other community, should
remember that IDF soldiers are not an abstract idea for us. They are
our children, brothers, sisters, neighbors. They are not capable of
doing the things unfortunately ascribed to them," he said.
But the meeting won't be an argument, he adds. "Any
Jewish community should always remember Israel as a state is a partner
and friend," he said.
The meeting is a joint initiative of Edelstein's ministry and
the European Jewish Congress
' leadel.NET project, an online initiative
to foster European Jewish identity through online media. It is headed
by Vladimir Kantor, son of EJC president Moshe Kantor
Edelstein will hold an online conversation
facilitated by leadel.NET's infrastructure with a different Jewish
community each month. In October, he will speak with the community of
Sofia, Bulgaria, and in October with Milan, Italy.
The "conversations" will focus not only on communal leaders,
but will seek to attract young people to discuss Israel with Israeli
public figures. Edelstein will invite such figures from academia, the
media, government and the military to participate in the discussions.
"The congress is working hard to connect communities in Europe
to Israel using modern technology. It's time to learn how to use the
technology to build new bridges," said Tomer Marshall, managing
director of leadel.NET, of the online gatherings.