EU Parliament President: No laws against Jewish practice

European Parliament Pres. Tajani promises to stand by Jewish community, fight anti-Semitism and laws banning ritual slaughter.

Haim Lev ,

Antonio Tajani at the conference
Antonio Tajani at the conference
Walfoni Studio Brussels

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani expressed support for Jews' right to continue religious traditions and practices.

In his statement, which was said at a ceremony in Brussels' Great Synagogue, Tajani said there is no place for banning European Jews from carrying out religious rites such as circumcision and kosher slaughter.

"Europe will not achieve integration and unity among its citizens as long as it limits or bans the religious community from fulfilling its religious commandments, such as circumcision and kosher slaughter," Tajani said. "Only by protecting their rights and preserving their identities, will every citizen have personal security, with the unity and equality which lead to tranquil lives. This is what Europe is based on."

"I am proud to lead the European Parliament, which brought discussion of religion back to the political discourse and determines Europe's future."

During the ceremony, Belgium's Chief Rabbi Avraham Gigi presented Tajani with the 2018 Conference of European Rabbis Prize.

Conference of European Rabbis President Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt gave a second prize to Frans Timmermans, who served as the first VP of the European Commission.

The prizes were given in recognition of the recipients "unique contribution to the protection of religious rights, and their consistent and determined fight against anti-Semitism."

"We cannot act indifferently towards he leaders and commandments of religion," Tajani said. "We must all act responsibly and with wisdom, and join together to protect and preserve....the religious identity of Europe's citizens. The European Parliament will continue to condemn and consistently and determinedly fight all forms of anti-Semitism and hatred, and will protect religious freedom."

He also noted that the European Parliament added Holocaust studies to school curricula.

"If we do not know how to preserve the memory of that brutality and wickedness, we will not know how to fight together against it. We must give our children roots and wings," he said.

Timmermans said, "I ask you again to inform us of any information from your communities on the subject of systematic verbal incitement in European Union member countries. We will not tolerate any legislation or legal initiatives against religious laws, including kosher slaughter and circumcision, which would limit the religious rights of Europe's citizens. We are more determined than ever to fight for the undisturbed continuation of Jewish tradition in Europe.