EJC President speaks at the 125th Anniversary of the First Zionist Congress in Basel

An EJC delegation consisting of President Dr. Ariel Muzicant, Executive Vice-President & CEO Raya Kalenova, and Presidents of European Jewish Communities took part in the 125th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress celebratory event on 28-29 August 2022 in Basel, Switzerland.

The EJC delegation joined decision-makers, Jewish leaders, businesspeople, and entrepreneurs who met to discuss the most pressing contemporary challenges for Israel and the Jewish world as well as the future of Israel’s innovation and entrepreneurship.

EJC President Dr Muzicant addressed the participants on the current situation of the European diaspora at the main plenary themed “Leadership meets impact”, a session which was opened by Minister of Diaspora Affairs of Israel Nachman Shai.

Dr. Muzicant stated that “after 125 years” he “will continue to strongly support the State of Israel” and as an Austrian he is “also representing Herzl and all his ideas”.

In his remarks, Dr Muzicant highlighted the role of education as an essential tool to foster Jewish life in Europe and to preserve its traditions. At the same, he pointed out the critical need to defend Jewish religious rights, such as the right to practice Schehita and Brit Milah, across the continent.

“We must use all possible means to protect Jewish life in Europe and our core traditions, and foster Jewish education by addressing the shortage of Jewish educators,” Dr Muzicant said.

Concurrently, the EJC delegation held a series of bilateral meetings with high-level political stakeholders and representatives of the Jewish world during the event.

A special gala evening took place at the Stadtcasino in which President of Israel Isaac Herzog spoke alongside Canton Basel Prime Minister Beat Jans, Minister of Economy Guy Parmelin (who is also a former president of Switzerland) and World Zionist Organization chairman Yaakov Hagoel. Jewish Agency chairman Doron Almog was also present during the ceremony.

The conference was organized by the World Zionist Organization (WZO) in cooperation with the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG/FSCI), EJC affiliate in the country, and the Government of the Basel Canton.