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Berlin Rabbi Yehudah Teichtel, German Parliamentary head Thomas Opperman

Rabbi Yehudah Teichtal, Rabbi of the Jewish community of Berlin, called on fellow European rabbis this week to “help save the European Union” in the wake of the British vote to leave the European body.

Rabbi Teichtel met Tuesday with Thomas Oppermann, parliamentary head of the German Social Democratic Party (SDP), the second largest party in Germany, at his offices at the Bundestag. The two discussed the future of Europe and its Jewish communities, in light of the British referendum.

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The Berlin rabbi told Oppermann that he has been encouraging fellow European rabbis and Jewish leaders to ‘take action’ and prevent any further breaking in the EU.

“I call upon the leaders of all Jewish communities around Europe to do whatever they can and execute all of their influence, in order to prevent any other countries from leaving the EU,” Teichtel said.

During the meeting, Oppermann expressed his worries about the continent’s political future.

“The EU means that people can move from one country to another and can settle down. If anyone believes that they should go back to their own nation and try to live for themselves, it is not the right way,” he said.

Oppermann added, “We have to cooperate, we have to work together and we have to keep this European Union. We don’t want more ‘Brexits’ or “exits” so that the people of Europe will get the feeling that we have to defend our values, our democracy, our freedom and our welfare.”

Oppermann also spoke of the importance of the relations between the Jewish communities and the EU. “It is equally important to keep the EU in good constitution because it enables us to have Jewish life in every European country, one that can develop from one country to another. Jewish life is a great enrichment to have in Europe, in Israel and all around the world,” he said. Teichtel maintains that the establishment of the EU and the multi-cultural approach it symbolizes contributes to the welfare of Europe’s Jewish communities.

He told Opperman “the possibility of dismantling the EU and reverting back to nation states should worry all Jewish people around Europe… A strong European union is a paramount interest to the Jewish people of Europe in general and to Jewish people of Germany in particular.”

The two also discussed the rising worries among Berlin’s Jewish community in the wake of the ‘Brexit.’

“It is a worrisome sign to the strengthening of nationalism and of extreme right-wing parties and movements,” Teichtel warned. “The Jewish community in Berlin joins a great number of Jewish community leaders from all over Europe who expressed their sorrow over the UK’s decision.”

The rabbi thanked MP Oppermann for his support for the Jewish life, speaking of the politician’s “support of Jewish life… I recognize your achievements, your dedication, and your care and I want to thank you in the name of the community here. I wish that God will give you great success in all your important work.”

Earlier that day, speaking at the Bundestag, Oppermann urged Chancellor Angella Merkel to carry the negotiations “as quickly as possible, in order to provide clarity.

“Years of stalemate’ will not serve Europe’s interests”, he said. “We want fair negotiations and to continue deep and friendly relations with the United Kingdom. But there must be no rewards for nationalism and European hostility. If the message is at the end, that one can get rid of the liabilities, without losing the benefits, then there will soon be referendums everywhere.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.

7 COMMENTS

  1. When will they ever learn. Jews are not supposed to feel safe in Europe, it is galut, galut is not home. When will rabbis stop telling their kehilot to stay in galut instead of telling them to pack up and go home–to Eretz Yisrael?? This same story already played itself out once before…must we really endure a re-run of every horrible thing that ever happened in our history of exitence on this earth???

  2. The EU is powerless to change the hearts and minds of Europeans harboring recist feelings. They can impose legislation against such feelings turning into violence but this may only exascerbate deeply held prejudices which in the case of the Jews comes afer centuries of fomenting hatred against them by the Catholic Church.

  3. the Jews are more endangered without the borders than with; Germany is bringing in more Moslems than anyone wants, endangering more Jews than ever, with nowhere to run. The EU is George Soros's One World Order, with one anti-semite ruling all of Europe. Rabbis, wake up!!

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