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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Belgium’

AG Blocks Draft Bill as Haredim Rally Outside EU Headquarters

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

It was the first day of summer vacation, and representatives from the Haredi communities of Austria, Belgium, Britain, France and other European countries were bused in to rally outside the European Union headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday, in protest of the new Israeli draft legislation that will require Haredi men to enlist.

The protesters appealed to the EU to put pressure on Israel to change the legislation.

Rabbi Betzalel Weisz, a rosh yeshiva from Stamford Hill, London, said Haredi Jews were obligated to offer their vocal support to the Haredim in Israel, and to urge them not to give up their staunch position that Haredim don’t serve in the army.

“The aim of the army and the Zionists is not defense but to undermine religion and remove Haredim from the religion,” Weisz said.

The rally was very well organized, in almost military style. The IDF would do well to recruit all these folks, if only as consultants on putting together projects involving large groups of people without accidents. Remember, these are the people that packed thousands into a stadium in Queens to protest the Internet.

Hraedi Rally EU 2

Meanwhile, the path of the new draft bill has been blocked, at least temporarily, by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, who ruled that in order to achieve complete equality, the draft law must be clipped of two major benefits for young Haredi recruits: deferment until age 21 and the choice between the civil and military service.

AG Weinstein wrote, regarding the age differential, that “this is a rule that carries with it a violation of the equality principle for recruits who are not yeshiva students, and who are generally drafted by the army at the age of 18.”

When’s the next bus to Brussels?

Antwerp School Must Enroll children of Anti-Zionist Firebrand

Monday, June 24th, 2013

A Belgian court has ordered a school in Antwerp to enroll the children of Moshe Aryeh Friedman, an Orthodox Jew ostracized for his anti-Zionist views.

The Antwerp court of appeals ruled last week that the Yesode Hatora School had no grounds to refuse to enroll six of the eight children of Friedman, a New York-born anti-Zionist activist who in 2006 attended a conference of Holocaust deniers organized by former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran.

Yesode Hatora School has male and female students, who study separately in accordance with the wishes of the vast majority of Antwerp’s Orthodox Jews. The school last year refused to enroll the children of the Friedman family, who have been declared persona non grata by some institutions of Antwerp’s Orthodox community

Freidman fought back in the courts and in effect threatened the Orthodox community’s relative autonomy in education while he violated the Jewish community’s principle of resolving conflicts internally without involving Belgian authorities.

Friedman registered two of his boys at the Benoth Jerusalem Public School for girls in December, after obtaining an injunction from a Belgian judge. Belgian law does not allow gender-segregated schools but in reality the practice is tolerated as long as it remains unchallenged.

The injunction has been since been lifted and the boys stopped attending the girls school, but Friedman has appealed the lifting of the injunction.

He told JTA he did not intend to withdraw his appeal until after all of his children find “the adequate educational framework they deserve.”

Antwerp Police Laughed at Brutal Anti-Semitic Attack

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Publicity in Belgium and on Israeli television of police dismissal of a brutal anti-Semitic attack on a woman on her apartment has raised the rafters in Brussels where one Jewish leader said the incident “sounds like something from 1930s Germany.”

The police not only ignored the attack but also scoffed at it after neighbors attacked Cindy Meul in her apartment after they constantly harassed her and her girlfriend, former Israeli tennis champion Ruth Sverdloff and her daughters.

When the two women moved into their apartment, Sverdloff promptly put a mezuzah on the apartment door.

The neighbors then banged on the walls and shouted,” stinking Jews,” “we do not want Jews in this building” and other expressions that cannot be reprinted here, lawyer Mischael Modrikamen told the Jewish magazine Joods Actueel in Antwerp. They said they came “to finish what the Nazis started.”

The hate language turned to violence when two neighbors burst into the apartment on May 24 and beat up Meul, who was alone at the time, and broke her nose.

‘’When the ambulance took Cindy Meul at hospital, she saw a policewoman laughing and chatting with the aggressors,” Modrikamen told the Jewish magazine. Meul was hospitalized for 15 days.

When Sverdloff complained to the police in English, she was reportedly told by a police officer, “This is Flanders and you must speak Flemish.”

The police did not act on the complaints until the publicity nearly a month later.

Sverdloff was so concerned that she sent her daughter to her grandparents “because the child was too scared to stay here any longer.”

Joel Rubinfeld, the Brussels-born co-chair of the European Jewish Parliament, said, “The reports concerning this case are extremely disconcerting: It sounds like something from 1930s Germany. Especially disquieting is the authorities’ apparent inaction.” The JTA reported.

Earlier this month prosecutors in Brussels decided not to file charges in a separate case from 2011, in which a 15-year-old Jewish girl who was identified in the Belgian media only as Oceane was attacked outside her school by five boys who called her a “dirty Jew” before hitting her repeatedly in the face. “A pattern of indifference emerges,” Rubinfeld said.

French-Speaking Belgian Students Join the Boycott Israel Fad

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

The Federation of French-speaking Students in Belgium (FEF), a body boasting some 120,000 students in the country, has almost unanimously called for “a freezing of relations with Israeli universities.”

The move was initiated by the University of  Louvain (UCL), according to Belgian daily newspaper Le Soir.

The  2012 the General Assembly of the Louvain students last December voted for a motion requiring that their university take a “clear and progressive” stance by supporting “a freezing of relations between the UCL and Israeli academic establishments until they publicly recognize and denounce the violations of various international law conventions committed by Israel.”

The FEF decision, which was inspired by the UCL students motion, stresses “the “gestures already made by their institution in favor of Palestinian universities” .

The boycott motion was approved by 85 percent of those able to vote, and only six percent voted against the motion, while nine percent abstained.

The universities that are  members of the federation, have agreements with Israeli universities, such as Tel Aviv and the Technion, that FEF president David Méndez Yépe charges “are preferred partners of the arms manufacturer Elbit. They conduct research on the development of drones responsible for causing damage and destruction in Palestine, and their programs are used by the Israeli army.”

Half Belgian Muslim Teens Have Anti-Semitic Views, Says Study

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

A major survey among Belgian teenagers indicated anti-Semitism was seven times more prevalent among Muslim youths than in non-Muslim teenagers.

Conducted in recent months by three universities for the Flemish government, the survey was published last month based on questionnaires filled out by 3,867 high school students in Antwerp and Ghent, including 1,068 Muslims.

Among Muslims, 50.9 percent of respondents agreed with the statement “Jews foment war and blame others for it” compared to only 7.1 percent among non-Muslims. Among Muslims, 24.5 percent said they partially agreed with the statement, as did 20.6 percent of non-Muslims.

The statement “Jews seek to control everything” received a 45.1 approval rating among Muslims compared to 10.8 approval among non-Muslims. Of Muslims, 27.9 percent said they partially agreed, as did 29.2 percent of non-Muslims.

About 35 percent of Muslims agreed with the statement that “Jews have too much clout in Belgium” compared to 11.8 percent of non-Muslims who participated in the “Young in Antwerp and Ghent” survey. The results were part of a 360-page report which was produced for the Flemish government’s Youth Research Platform by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven; GhentUniversity and Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Claude Marinower, Antwerp’s alderman for education, told JTA he found the data “most troubling.” In an interview for the Antwerp-based monthly Joods Actueel, Marinower announced he would launch an action plan to fight anti-Semitism in the Flemish capital’s schools.

The Meaning of European ‘Resolve’ Against Terror

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Yesterday, March 11, 2013, the European Union commemorates the 9th European Day in Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism.

Here’s the key part of an official statement released by the E.U. Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Gilles de Kerchove:

All acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, wherever they took place or whoever committed them. Therefore, our resolve to defeat terrorism must never weaken or falter even for a day, and our support to victims to meet their needs must remain a priority, as well as our commitment to actively promoting a policy of international solidarity.

Seems like a good time to remind him of the need to outlaw the outrageous and flagrant terrorists of Hizbollah whose supporters operate within the law in Europe with no evident interference from officials of the E.U. or of its Counter-Terrorism Coordinator. This ought to surprise us given that a Bulgarian court found last month that it was Hizbollah that stood behind the terrorist attack last summer on a tourist bus full of Israelis, killing five of them and their driver.

Mr de Kerchove knows this. But despite his public call today never to weaken or to falter ”even for a day” in the battle to defeat terrorism, he doesn’t actually seem to mean the Hizbollah brand of terrorism, but other terrorisms. (Truthfully, we’re not completely sure which, but it seems that he is).

Here is how he expressed it in a January 28, 2013 interview (“EU official: Hezbollah unlikely to get on terrorism blacklist“) with E.U. Observer when asked if Europe should go along with the requests of the United States and Israel to make it illegal, for instance, to give donation money to Hizbollah:

…For De Kerchove, the situation is not so simple. “First, we need to reach conclusions with strong evidence that it was the military wing of Hezbollah [which indeed carried out the terrorist bombing at Burgas airport in Bulgaria]. That’s the prerequisite, even in legal terms, but then, as always in the listing process, you need to ask yourself: ‘Is this the right thing to do?’… For Hezbollah, you might ask, given the situation in Lebanon, which is a highly fragile, highly fragmented country, is listing it going to help you achieve what you want? … There is no automatic listing just because you have been behind a terrorist attack. It’s not only the legal requirement that you have to take into consideration, it’s also a political assessment of the context and the timing…”

The interview was given just before the Bulgarians found, judicially, that Hizbollah was the culprit, so at least that prerequisite was satisfied. But that – why are we surprised? – is evidently not enough.

He noted there is “no consensus” among EU states on whether listing Hezbollah would be helpful or not [E.U. Observer]

which is a very good way to say what official Europe really feels about the battle against the terrorists.

In simple terms, the Commissioner’s official statement today, the one that appears in the press release above, should not be taken too seriously. Perhaps it was only intended for the terror victims and their commemoration ceremonies in the first place. If you really want to go after the terrorists, then the way forward – according to Europe’s Counter-Terrorism Coordinator – calls for more than mere resolve. You need consensus and agreement as to whether it will be helpful.

European politics is populated by a multitude of individuals who are hopelessly ambivalent about the Islamists. As for serious European moves against terror, we can expect to see them limited to press releases and wreath laying ceremonies in civic squares.

Out on the streets and railways and airports of Europe? Not so much.

Visit This Ongoing War.

Nazi Leader’s Sister Hid Jews Near Brussels

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

The sister of a Belgian Nazi leader hid three Jews in her home near Brussels during the Holocaust, according to one of the survivors.

Hanna Nadel, now 86, said she, her mother and her niece were rescued by M. Cornet, the sister of Leon Degrelle, who, as leader of the Belgian Nazi Rexen movement, was responsible for deporting Jews to their deaths during the German occupation of Belgium.

Nadel’s account, related to historian Jan Maes, appeared earlier this week in the Belgian-Jewish monthly Joods Actueel,

The three, having escaped deportation orders, wandered  with their suitcases around the town of Sint-Genesius Rode, where they happened upon a help-wanted sign on Cornet’s door.

The mother rang the doorbell and Cornet, without asking many questions, hired the mother as cook and Nadel and her niece to work as chambermaids.

Cornet knew the three women were Jewish and promised them they would survive. Visitors associated with the Flemish Nazi movement would routinely dine at the house , while the three Jewish women hid in the basement.

Nadel’s mother would sometimes cook gefiltefish, which the lady of the house advertised to her guests as “oriental fish”, Nadel recalled.

Nadel immigrated to Israel after the war. Leon Degrelle left for Spain, where he died of old age in 1994, escaping the death sentences that his Nazi associates received back home.

Belgian Jews at Loggerheads Over Israel

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Belgian Jews are at loggerheads as a result of an EU vote to dispatch the UN to Israel on a mission to scrutinize Jewish towns and communities in Judea and Samaria.

Despite increasing detachment between Belgium’s Flemish and French-speaking population, the Jewish community has always maintained a high level of solidarity. Yet when Belgium became one of only two EU countries to vote in favor of a UN-led probe against Jewish life in what they call the “West Bank”, a major split occurred, according to a report by JTA.

Flemish Jews stated they were “shocked and appalled” by the vote, with French-speaking Jews remaining silent, even sending a representative to meet with a Belgian Foreign Ministry official who noted the warmth of Belg-Israeli relations.

In December, the umbrella organization representing Flemish Jews issued a criticism of the umbrella organization representing French-speaking Jews, for honoring a Belgian po9litician who had equated Israel and Nazism.

According to the JTA report, Antwerp Jews, where the majority of Flemish Jews live, tends to be more religious and strong in their support for Israel, whereas Brussels Jews tend to be more liberal, with less than a quarter of the number of Jewish schools.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/belgian-jews-at-loggerheads-over-israel/2012/04/30/

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