German Arab politician is main advocate for Jewish center

Raed Saleh, the leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Berlin, is helping to advance a Jewish community center in the city.

Nitzan Keidar ,

Saleh with Rabbi Teichtal
Saleh with Rabbi Teichtal
Credit: Jewish community in Berlin

Raed Saleh, the leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Berlin is considered one of the main supporters of the establishment of a Jewish community center in the German city.

Saleh's name is the same as the head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, but the two don't share common views.

Saleh, who was born in the village of Sebastia near Shechem (Nablus), immigrated with his parents at the age of two to Germany and became one of the most prominent politicians in Berlin. In recent years he has helped establish a magnificent Jewish community center, which will provide a solution for thousands of Jews living in and outside of Berlin.

"From the very beginning, he showed a particularly warm attitude toward this initiative that will enable the consolidation and expansion of Jewish life," said Rabbi Yehuda Teichtel, the rabbi of Berlin, who heads the project. "He promoted the programs on the various committees and proved how important it was to him - not by mere words but my real actions."

The Arab-German politician has turned into a major force in the fight against anti-Semitism, xenophobia and intolerance.

Recently Saleh visited the site of the Jewish community center. "I love your authenticity," he said to Rabbi Teichtel, the rabbi of Berlin. "On the one hand, you don't give up your principles and on the other hand you know how to get along with everyone."

There is a long friendship between the two. Saleh was one of the guests of honor at the laying of the cornerstone ceremony and was honored to speak

It is estimated that the center will be completed within a year and a half.