In a statement on Friday the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Institutions in Belgium (CCOJB) chose to distance itself from what it calls “in the clearest of terms, the irresponsible and ridiculous statements made by Rabbi Menachem Margolin, President of the EJA”. “The EJA is in no way representative of the Belgian Jewish Community”, stressed the committee. The CCOJB wanted to “make certain things clear following Rabbi Margolin’s declarations, which are surely a result of panic and ignorance.”
The CCOJB wants to remind people that, in a state ruled by law, it is for the public authorities to ensure the safety of its citizens, “of all its citizens.” It is within this framework that the leaders of the Jewish Community in Belgium are working closely with government departments to ensure the safety of the Jewish people in Belgium, said the CCOJB.
On Tuesday, in a statement published on the website of the EJA (European Federation of Jewish Associations) the rabbi appealed to the authorities of EU member countries to change weapons legislation. He wanted “as many Jews as possible to carry a firearm” as a way to address the growing feeling the Jewish community has of being at risk, as a result, in particular, of the attacks in Paris.
“We feel it is essential to clarify our position when the population of Belgium as a whole is showing support and appreciation for the determination shown by the government and security services to ensure public safety,” the statement concluded.