Jerusalem skyline 370 .
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Jewish leaders from more than 20 European nations are scheduled to arrive in Jerusalem tomorrow for a series of meetings with government officials and their North American counterparts, the Israeli Jewish Congress announced on Monday.
Included in the group are senior members of communities “at the very forefront of [combating] anti-Semitism and delegitimization of Israel in Europe,” including France, Greece and Hungary, a spokesman told The Jerusalem Post.
The delegation will meet with members of the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption & Diaspora Affairs, the European Forum of the Knesset for Strengthening Ties between Israel and Europe and the Knesset Caucus for Struggle Against Anti-Semitism.
They will also meet with Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett and Yuval Steinitz, minister of strategic affairs, intelligence and international relations.
During the trip, participants are to take part in the 2nd Trilateral Dialogue between Israel, North American and European Jewry, a follow-up to an event held last November during the Jewish Federations of North America’s 2013 General Assembly in Jerusalem.
“The primary purpose of this initiative is to reinforce relations between Israel, European and North American Jewry, and to develop a joint action plan to combat anti-Semitism and the delegitimization of Israel and strengthen Jewish identity and connection to the Jewish State,” the IJC said.
Aside from its stated goals, the delegation may also be here as part of a bid to enhance the constituent communities’ participation in the government’s World Jewry Joint Initiative. This program, backed by Bennett and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, is designed to finance Jewish identity programs around the world to the tune of billions of dollars over the next two decades.
While representatives of several European countries were involved in the organization of the wide-ranging initiative, it seems largely centered on North America, where the bulk of Diaspora Jewry lives.
Earlier this year leaders of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary, the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland, the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine and the Comité de Coordination des Organisations Juives de Belgique told the Post that they were unaware of the program and that they had not been invited to participate in the planning process.
Israel convened a planning summit last November at which representatives of Jewish communities worldwide gathered to discuss what they would like to see come out of the program.
The group is slated to receive a special briefing on the government initiative “to be held in conjunction with senior representatives of the Prime Minister’s Office, Diaspora Affairs Ministry and the Jewish Agency for Israel.”