European rabbis are concerned: "Legislation against [kosher] slaughtering and circumcision will bring Jewish communities to an end"

Though Emmanuel Macron's victory in France eased the immediate fears of the Jewish community in the country, European rabbis now fear recent legislative changes in Norway and Belgium that would prohibit kosher slaughtering and circumcision. "These decisions will bring an end to the Jewish communities," they said at a conference in Amsterdam.
European rabbis meet for biannual conference Photo Credit: Eli Itkin/ Channel 2 News

In the background of Emmanuel Macron's victory in France, European rabbis convened in Amsterdam for the European Rabbinical Conference. "Macron's victory made us happy but we heard today that the prime minister in Norway wants to ban circumcision for children under the age of 16 and about the Belgian parliament's decision to ban Jewish slaughtering," said Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the European Rabbinical Conference. "We are at the beginning of the struggle for the future of the Jewish communities in Europe. A country that forbids circumcision is actually declaring the end of the Jewish community there."

The struggle against legislation prohibiting Jewish slaughtering and circumcision is at the top of the agenda of the hundreds of rabbis from all of the Jewish communities in Europe that attended the biennial conference.

European rabbis meet to discuss threatening legislation Photo Credit: Eli Itkin/ Channel 2 News

"It's true that Macron won," said the Chief Rabbi of France Rabbi Chaim Corsia. "But we must not forget that 34 percent wanted to forbid [kosher] slaughtering and to forbid wearing a skullcap on the street. It is against the Jews and against France." 

Rabbi Avraham Gigi, the Chief Rabbi of Belgium and the representative of the European Rabbis' Conference at the EU, thinks that while the legislation does harm the Jewish communities, it is not motivated strictly by anti-Semitism. "Those who submit the laws are sometimes friends of the Jewish community but they are under heavy pressure from animal welfare organizations that have a significant electoral weight," he explained. Another motive for the legislation is Islamophobia, which also harms Jewish communities. "It is important to work together with Muslims in whatever way possible to combat such legislation," Goldschmidt added.

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