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Op-Ed: Hamburg's Jewish Leadership Ignores Yom HaZikaron

Can it be? The writer claims that the Hamburg official Jewish Community Board has divorced itself from public connection with Israel.
Published: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 8:51 AM



Community officials would not sound the Hatikva since they did not even provide a recording of our national anthem.
Hard to believe but true: the Head of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Community in Hamburg displays no interest whatsoever in public regarding Israel and even ignores any participation and commiseration with IDF Memorial Day for Soldiers and Terror Victims, Yom Hazikaron, honoring the well over 30,000 victims fallen since the foundation of our state some 66 years ago.

Any written suggestion for a memorial service to be held on May 5 has fallen on deaf ears, and community management has not even deemed it necessary to respond to an initiative suggested last November 6. The sender had proposed a special religious service in conjunction with an official ceremony and a blood donation drive for Israel as well as an official statement of solidarity addressed to the families of those Israelis who had fallen during the years since the state was established.

This seems to be a new apex of disregard for Israel by the five members of the Board of Directors: During an open discussion event held only a short while ago in memory of the 75th anniversary of  “Crystal Night” (Kristallnacht) on November 9, 2013, the the Head of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Community in Hamburg, Mr. Bernhard Effertz, caused widespread consternation when talking about the (non)understandable concern and fear of German Jews to openly embrace the State of Israel.

The stubborn,long-term refusal to express solidarity with Israel as well as the shocking dissociation from the Jewish State found its embarrassing expression in the realization that the Community officials would not sound the Hatikva since they did not even provide a recording of our national anthem.

This bigoted and narrow-minded attitude of the Jewish Community has been met for years with impassioned protest. At that point in time, a number of younger members
of the board had the gall to publicly state in a large newspaper interview that they, as German Jews, did not wish to be questioned as to their attitude towards the political situation of Israel. They were neither responsible nor did they have anything to say or interpret. 

On the other hand, these younger members of the board had obviously enjoyed the chance to appear in the same newspaper article as Oliver Polak (a Jewish comedian known for vulgarly mocking the Holocaust victims and tastelessly denigrating the Jewish People to the amusement of German anti-Semites).

The behavior of this Jewish Community board of members in the second largest metropolis in Germany gives rise to basic question as to the raison d'être of such increasingly self-serving institutions lacking any orientation.

Lately Chabad with its untiring engagement in Jewish life seems to be gaining rising influence, especially in Hamburg, and not only with religious Jews. Its clear
commitment to the State of Israel finds expression in definite statements in Chabad calendars such as: “as long as there shall exist the blue Star of David there will be no yellow stars for Jews”. 

The Jewish Community would do well to adopt that statement. Ignoring the Jewish state will do them no good.