President of the EJC Dr Ariel Muzicant spoke with Arutz Sheva – Israel National News about his organisation’s solidarity visit to Israel.
The EJC, which is based in Brussels, represents the elected presidents of forty-two Jewish communities in Europe. Dr. Muzicant is one of seven representatives from the organization visiting Israel in light of the war.
“We have visited Israel in every war since 1967,” Dr. Muzicant explained. “When this war began, it was obvious to me that we must come once again. This is a mission of solidarity to show the people of Israel they are not alone, and that forty-two communities stand united with them.”
Dr. Muzicant spoke of his experiences during the visit: “We visited the south, we saw the destruction, we spoke with the mayor of Sderot, and tried to visit kibbutzim nearer to the fence, a part that was canceled for security reasons. We experienced sirens and had to wear helmets and armored vests. It made us feel that we were not doing enough to support those who experience this every day – we live a relatively peaceful life in Europe, and we should be doing more to support those who must contend with this regularly.”
The delegation also met with some of the people affected by the continual hostilities in southern Israel. “We met with the soldiers who are fighting, with the people of the towns hit by Hamas, with displaced persons, and finally with the families of the hostages. It was an extremely emotional experience for us. We have heard much about humanitarian aid to Gaza – where is the humanitarian aid for these people?”
The delegation has a clear message they will take back to their home countries: “There can be no truce or appeal for humanitarian aid as long as there is not so much as any news of the babies captured by Hamas. We were also shown videos of what these gangsters did, and we think it is time to put an end to the Hamas criminals. This has nothing to do with the Palestinian people, it is massacring Jews because they are Jews. It reminds us of the Holocaust, and since I am from Austria I know what that means. We cannot tolerate this.”
“I think these videos have to be shown to decision-makers, leaders, journalists. They should not be released to the general public – you cannot watch it for more than a few minutes, and once people reach that line they will begin to say it is fake.”
International media, according to Dr. Muzicant, is too entrenched in the idea of neutrality. “The international media is trying to be fair, showing both Israel and Hamas. They don’t realize that they should be showing the Palestinians, not just Hamas. Hamas terrorizes Palestinians as well, and this is the message we must get through to the international community.”
He also emphasized that Jews elsewhere in the world are not necessarily safe: “Antisemitism has risen between three and five hundred percent in the last three weeks. There are hundreds of Iranians in the embassies planning attacks against Jewish targets. All we can do is call on our governments and law enforcement to do everything they can to protect Jewish citizens. Every country in Europe is calling for Orthodox Jews to hide that they are Jewish, but that is hard to do. It is a nightmare for the EJC, but we are protecting Jewish communities as best we can.”
He left a message for Israel as well. “This all started because we were fighting each other. We need to rebuild with unity and the realization that fighting among ourselves is what lead to fourteen hundred Jews being killed. We always viewed Israel as a safe haven in Europe, and now that view is gone. You will need to rebuild it, together.”