EJC Solidarity Mission to Israel

Leaders from 24 Jewish communities from across Europe took part in a “Solidarity Mission” to Israel this weekend organized by the European Jewish Congress, to both show support to the Israeli people and to promise the Israeli government that the EJC will work with the European Union to ensure it does its utmost to disarm the terrorist movement Hezbollah.

On Monday, July 24th the delegation – composed of presidents of Jewish communities as well as Parliament members from France, Ukraine and the Netherlands – travelled to the city of Hafia, paying a visit to the wounded in Rambam hospital and meeting Yona Yahav, mayor of Haifa. After a siren warning of incoming Katyusha rockets sent the delegation into a bomb shelter, EJC President Pierre Besnainou stressed that such a visit shows Israelis that European Jewry is ready to mobilize to jointly pressure European Union member states to act on behalf of Israel.

“European Jews have been playing a key role in influencing European governments to change their attitude towards Israel” said Besnainou. “This is how we can help Israelis in this difficult time.”

Led by EJC President Besnainou and Israel Singer, Chairman of the Policy Council of the World Jewish Congress, the delegation met the day before with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres. During their meetings, Jewish leaders confided that Europe can and will play a more balanced role in this crisis.

“For the first time there is a full understanding between the French and Israeli governments,” President Besnainou told the Israeli Prime Minister, alluding to the support for Israel’s right to self-defence that given by European countries, a change from their initial accusation that Israel’s campaign was “disproportionate.” ({The Finnish Presidency of the EU called Israel’s reaction as “disproportionate” on July 13th, but the Council meeting of EU Foreign Ministers meeting four days later considerably toned down their criticism})

“It is not something that we are used to, where Israel and the international community see a situation the same way,” said Foreign Minister Livni, in a Jerusalem meeting with the EJC. “For the first time, the G-8 and the European Union made statements saying the cause of the conflict is Hezbollah and the goal is to dismantle Hezbollah.”

The EJC stressed that Europe can contribute positively to solving this crisis by finally pushing for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559 – which calls for the full disarmament of Hizbollah – and by ensuring that that all three abducted IDF soldiers are liberated.

President Besnainou and Chairman Singer met later with family members of the abducted soldiers. They promised to work on raising public support in France for their liberation, so to use France’s influence over Hamas and Hizballah to provide Israel with signs of life from the soldiers, and to ensure the safety of the three kidnapped soldiers.

Participants

EJC Delegation:

Austria Ariel MUZICANT
Belgium Philippe MARKIEWICZ
Croatia Sacha CVEDKOVIC
Czech Republic Jiri DANICEK
France Pierre BESNAINOU
Roger CUKIERMAN
Serge CWAJGENBAUM
Tidhar WALD
Germany Stephen KRAMER
Gideon JOFFE
Greece Aaron FORNIS
Hungary Peter FELDMAYER
Gusztav ZOLTAI
Netherlands Benjamin BLOG
Ruben VIS
Portugal Jose OULMAN CARP
Romania Alex SIVAN
Russia Sol BUKINGOLTS
Serbia Alexsandr GAON
Spain Raphael COHEN
Sweden Lena POSNER KOROSI
Turkey Silvyo OVADYA
Ukraine Yaakov BLEICH
United Kingdom Florence KAUFMANN
EUJS Olga ISRAEL

WJC Israel SINGER (USA)
Bobby BROWN
Peleg RESHEF

LAJC Peru Eduardo BIGIO

Members of Parliament:

Ukrainian Parliament
Alexander FELDMAN
Maksym LUTSKYI
Dmytro VYDRIN
Valeriy KAMCHATNIY
Yevgen KABATSKYY

French National Assembly
Rudy SALLES
Claude GOASGUEN

French Senate}
David ASSOULINE

Dutch Parliament
Hans van BAALEN

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