On April 23 2019, the European Jewish Congress attended a conference-debate entitled “‘Living together’ in the 21th Century, being a Jew in Islamic Lands: the case of Morocco”.
The topic discussed was the ‘Moroccan Jewish Life’ in Morocco and in the world. During the conference, the integration of Moroccan Jews into their society was highlighted by the speakers.
The event, co-organised by the Committee of Coordination of Jewish Organisations of Belgium (CCOJB) and the Embassy of Morocco in Belgium, took place in the hemicycle of the Belgian Senate.
This gathering has been made possible thanks to the patronage of the President of the Senate, Mr Brotchi, who has always been committed to the strengthening and preservation of democratic values and freedoms.
Following the speech of H.E. Mr. Mohammed Ameur, Ambassador of Morocco to Belgium, Mr. Yohan Benizri, President of the CCOJB, addressed the assembly recalling his childhood in Morocco. Mr. Benizri also underlined that “the ‘living together’ was possible and necessary”.
He added that :”Living together does not mean existing side by side. Unfortunately, too often, the concept of the “living together” is reduced to this… We ask each individual to adhere to a minimum set of ethics of life in a society and we try in vain to erase any differences beyond this minimum. This is a matter of opinion and it is dangerous.”
“We must also be very cautious when it comes to depriving individuals, members of a social group, from their freedoms, and especially from their freedom of conscience and religion. This is the essence of the right of minorities and fundamental freedoms.”
All in all, minimal ethics and competition of values are incompatible with the concept of ‘living together’”.
“If each of us is working towards this end, with strength and courage, then we will no longer be satisfied with a life lived in parallel with one another. Fragile for all and fed with repressions and frustrations. We could then build a common destiny, a common and enriching life, where everyone finds his/her place. Where cultures can interact and bring about fraternity and sense of sharing.”
After the organisers took the floor, a questions and answers session was held with Mr. André Azoulay, a Moroccan citizen of Jewish faith, advisor to the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI. Mr. Azoulay shared with the participants his personal experience vis-à-vis his multiple identities. Education has emerged as the most appropriate solution to overcome ignorance and hatred.