PM Charles Michel: ‘Belgium Without Jews is Not Belgium’
JNS.org – At a ceremony on Wednesday marking the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel at the Great Synagogue in Brussels, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel declared that “Belgium without Jews is not Belgium.”
In his address, Michel emphasized the contribution of the Jewish community to the development of Belgium, in the arts, sciences, research, innovation or in the economic and social fields.
He also condemned a growing number of antisemitic incidents across Europe. “Our solidarity against antisemitism is unconditional and total,” Michel said. “Every day, our values are put to the test, antisemitic and denial acts are still committed in Belgium. I cannot accept it. Our country can not accept it.”
Michel recalled a visit he made last year to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. “Among the 27,000 Righteous Among the Nations, 1,731 are Belgians. They are the honor and pride of our country. They are our dignity,’’ Michel said.
As early as January 29, 1949, Belgium recognized the State of Israel. “For 70 years, extremely strong links have been forged between our two countries,” the Belgian premier said.