European Rabbis Calls for Protection of Refugees in Europe After Libya Boat Tragedy
As European ministers vowed to tackle the growing number of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean, the Conference of European Rabbis called for the greater protection of migrants seeking refuge in Europe.
“We speak with experience when we urge the European Union and governments across Europe to replicate the kindness they have shown refugees across the continent and protect the many who seek a better future in Europe,” said conference President Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt.
Goldschmidt offered condolences to the families of the more than 700 victims who died last week when a boat carrying migrants capsized off the Libyan coast.
Also on Thursday, 24 caskets containing the only bodies recovered from last week’s shipwreck were laid out for a memorial service in Malta. Maltese President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano and EU Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos were all present for the ceremony.
At least 3,500 migrants, many of them fleeing poverty and violence in Africa, died trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in 2014. Many European governments have been reluctant to fund greater patrols and rescue missions fearing such measures could entice greater numbers of migrants to try and enter the continent.
The CER comprises some 700 religious leaders from Orthodox synagogues across Europe.