The Estonian Jewish Community has expressed deep concern over the appointment of Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE) MP Ruuben Kaalep to a state agency focused on integration, citing his alleged antisemitic views.
Alla Jakobson, board chair of the Jewish Community of Estonia, has addressed Minister of Culture Piret Hartman, stating that for the Jewish community, the Integration Foundation’s (Integratsiooni Sihtasutus) activities, which helps preserve national identity and ensure its connection with Estonian culture, are vital for the development of Estonia as a diverse and multi-ethnic country.
The Integration Foundation lies under the culture ministry’s remit.
Jakobson wrote: “In this regard, we believe that appointing to the foundation’s board an individual who has publicly expressed his nationalistic, including anti-semitic, views does not meet the organizations stated aims, and sends out the wrong signal to our society.
Minister Hartman recalled civil servant Heidi Uustalu, along with society figure Andrus Tamme, from the Integration Foundation’s board and appointed social and healthcare expert Georg Männik and Tartu city councilor Henri Kaselo (SDE), along with Kaalep, as their replacements, on three-year terms. The Ministry of Culture has justified Kaalep’s appointment to the board on the grounds of all Riigikogu political parties needing to be represented at the foundation.