European Jewish leaders voice concern over new Israeli government

Tens of Jewish leaders from across Europe met with President Isaac Herzog and shared with him their concerns regarding Israel’s government on a variety of issues, mainly the Law of Return.

 Dozens of Jewish leaders from across Europe met with President Isaac Herzog on January 16, 2023, sharing their concerns regarding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government on a variety of issues, particularly the amendment of the Law of Return. (photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)
Dozens of Jewish leaders from across Europe met with President Isaac Herzog on January 16, 2023, sharing their concerns regarding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government on a variety of issues, particularly the amendment of the Law of Return.
(photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)

Dozens of Jewish leaders from across Europe met with President Isaac Herzog on Monday, sharing their concerns regarding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government on a variety of issues, particularly the amendment of the Law of Return.

Dr. Ariel Musicant, president of the European Jewish Congress told Herzog was that he and other leaders will not hesitate to speak up when issues like the Law of Return arise in the Knesset. “When there is an issue of an Israeli rabbi or rabbinate about kashrut come up, we cannot interfere. [But] when these decisions have a major influence on our lives, [as Jews in Europe] we have to have to speak out.”

The Jewish European leaders came together for a conference organized by the Foreign Ministry, including about 40 heads of Jewish communities from 28 countries participated. After the meeting with Herzog, another European Jewish leader said that “we couldn’t just tell him nice and positive things about our Jewish communities, since the elephant in the room was our issues with the current government.” 

Diaspora communities are an asset

The leader added that they “see Jewish communities around the world as the largest strategic asset for Israel. Unfortunately not everyone in the government agrees with this statement. We [simply] had to portray to the president that issues, such as amending the Law of Return, are unacceptable and we ask to be part of these types of discussions. We will always defend Israel in our countries and we do so without anyone asking us to, but it has become more difficult for us lately.”

 Dozens of Jewish leaders from across Europe met with President Isaac Herzog on January 16, 2023, sharing their concerns regarding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government on a variety of issues, particularly the amendment of the Law of Return. (credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO) Dozens of Jewish leaders from across Europe met with President Isaac Herzog on January 16, 2023, sharing their concerns regarding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government on a variety of issues, particularly the amendment of the Law of Return. (credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)

Herzog later wrote that “Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish People.” He added that he was “pleased” to welcome the leaders for a conversation about the challenges of the Jewish world and their communities as well as to hear their concerns.

“Our national cohesion is a top priority,” he said. According to members of the delegation that participated in the meeting, Herzog encouraged them to make their voice and opinion heard in Israel and in the media, because, Herzog emphasized, Israel is the state of the entire Jewish nation.