Israeli leaders support European Jewish Congress agenda focused on Iranian threat, antisemitism and assimilation

{EJC Leaders Pledge to Continue Activities to Maintain Pressure on European Governments regarding the Iranian Threat, Expand Programming to Increase Jewish Awareness and Develop Innovative Ways to Combat Antisemitism}

Jerusalem – August 13, 2007 – Following high-level meetings in Jerusalem with Israel’s leaders, Moshe Kantor, newly elected President of the European Jewish Congress, emerged with the imperative to continue addressing the major strategic issues facing European Jewry including the Iranian threat, antisemitism and assimilation. Concern for the fate of the kidnapped soldiers was also expressed by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Moshe Kantor was urged to raise the issue at every available opportunity.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said during their meeting that the recent Luxembourg Forum, a gathering of nuclear experts from 14 countries including the USA, Russia and Israel organized by EJC President Moshe Kantor, before he took office, was an important event that brought a clear focus to the Iranian threat in a professional arena and he was encouraged by the statements that had emerged from this Forum so far. The Prime Minister also responded positively to Kantor’s proposal that this event should become an annual one, capable of overcoming many political divisions in favour of a unified emphasis on fighting global terror. The Prime Minister also recognized the EJC’s vital role in building support for Israel throughout Europe. Issues of anti-Semitism and assimilation were also discussed and Mr. Kantor invited the Prime Minister to a major commemorative event slated to take place in Germany in November 2008 to mark 70 years since “Die Kristallnacht”.

“The Kristallnacht commemoration event planned for next year is intended to go beyond the historical remembrance of the fateful pogroms in November 1938 in Nazi Germany” commented EJC President Moshe Kantor. “It will be used as a symbol of the world’s indifference to antisemitism and xenophobia, and to serve as a strong reminder that a similar type of threat in the form of global terror is emerging again, 70 years later, with Iran leading the threat of nuclear armament. The EJC will bring delegations from around the world to this event and give them a platform to state their opposition to global terror.”

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni reiterated the importance of keeping the Iranian threat at the forefront of the EJC’s activities and asked the EJC President to ensure that the situation of Israel’s kidnapped soldiers Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev should be raised at every opportunity among Europe’s leaders and within its institutions.

Diaspora Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog discussed various issues including assimilation and was encouraged by the EJC’s proposed innovative programs such as the education of European Jewish youth through connections with role models and heroes from the Jewish World, in order to increase Jewish pride and create a stronger connection to Judaism and Israel.

The senior delegation, led by Mr. Kantor, also included the President of the French Jewish community (CRIF) Richard Prasquier, the President of the German Jewish Community (Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland) Charlotte Knobloch, the Chief Rabbi of Moscow Pinchas Goldschmidt, the EJC Secretary General Serge Cwajgenbaum and the Director of the WJC Jerusalem office, Dr. Oded Eran.

The European Jewish Congressis the sole representative body of democratically elected European Jewish communities throughout Europe. The EJC works with national governments, European Union institutions and the Council of Europe to give a unified voice to Jewish communities around Europe.

[To read the report of Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, please click here->http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/About+the+Ministry/MFA+Spokesman/2007/Meeting+between+FM+Livni+and+European+Jewish+leaders+13-Aug-2007.htm]

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