JERUSALEM – Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky visited Brussels yesterday (Thursday, May 29) in order to express solidarity with the local Jewish community in the wake of the deadly attack at the Jewish Museum of Belgium on Saturday. Sharansky met with Jewish community members and communal leaders and heard their concerns following the attack. Sharansky also met with student leaders and representatives of the Jewish youth movements operating in Belgium and agreed to increase The Jewish Agency's activities amongst Belgian Jewish youth.
During his visit, Sharansky visited the Jewish Museum along with Jewish community leaders and lit a memorial candle in memory of the victims of Saturday's attack.
"It was important to me to be with the Belgian Jewish community at this time, to strengthen their hands and be strengthened by their resilience. In the early days of our struggle in the Soviet Union, the Belgian Jewish community mobilized to host one of the largest gatherings in support of our freedom. Today I had the opportunity to express the solidarity of world Jewry with the Belgian Jewish community. The Jewish Agency stands with the Jewish community of Belgium and will help ensure that Jewish life continues without interruption, assisting local Jewish institutions in addressing their security needs and connecting young Jews to their Jewish identity and to the State of Israel," said Sharansky.
There are some 40,000 Jews in Belgium, of whom approximately half live in Brussels. The Jewish Agency maintains an active presence in the country, strengthening Belgian Jews' connections to Israel and Jewish life and providing community youth with opportunities to travel to Israel on a vast range of programs. In addition, The Jewish Agency has provided significant funding to Jewish institutions in Belgium and across Europe in order to help them address their security needs and ensure that Jewish life continues uninterrupted.