With the ban on religious slaughter set to be introduced in the Flanders Region of Belgium in the coming days, Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis, has issued the following statement:
“The banning of Shechita in the Flanders Region of Belgian comes in to force in the coming days. The Wallonia Region, who have also passed a ban, will begin their ban in the summer of 2019. While we have known about these measures for many months, it is with true sadness that this first ban comes into effect.
“That provinces within Belgium, the law making capital of Europe, have passed this type of anti-religious measure is an afront to the European values we all hold so dear. Time and again, the Jewish community is told by senior EU officials that there is no Europe without the Jews, these bans undermine those statements and put Jewish life at risk. We urge EU leaders to address this directly to the Governments of Member States. Words are weak when actions hurt. We will continue to make those points to officials when we bring together hundreds of Rabbis for our biennial conference in Belgium this spring.
“Today’s ban needs to act as a wakeup call to communities all over Europe that they must build ties with Government at every level and set up dedicated task forces to protect religious practice. We await the results of the legal cases in Belgian with interest and continue to let the local community know that they have our support.”