On October 28, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel received the Theodor Herzl Award at the meeting of the Executive Committee of the World Jewish Congress. The Congress gives this award annually, honoring the personalities who strive to advance Herzl’s ideals to make the world safer and more tolerant for Jews. The delegation of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine took part in the award ceremony.
Former Theodor Herzl laureates include the Rothschild family, former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, former US Vice President Joseph R. Biden, the President of Israel Shimon Peres, Eli and Marion Wiesel, former Secretaries of State Henry A. Kissinger and George P. Schulz, and posthumously Ronald Reagan and Axel Springer.
As Chancellor Merkel noted, the acts of violence motivated by anti-Semitism are directed not only against Jews. “This is an attack on everything that modern civilization stands for: our values, our freedoms. We should never accept the fact that people live in fear because of their religious faith. And we must do everything in our power for them to be able to live freely and safely,” she emphasized.
Presenting the award, the President of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder, pointed out the progress that Germany had achieved in the restoration and in eradicating its dark past. And it is Chancellor Merkel that is the symbol of this incredible success.
“We must unite against anti-Semitism, racism, Islamophobia, xenophobia and homophobia. We must fight the haters,” said Ronald Lauder, outlining a series of steps that need to be taken. Among them are strengthening the police protection for all synagogues and schools, tougher penalties for attacks motivated by anti-Semitism, prohibition of any hate speeches against any group on the Internet, an obligation of political parties to abandon any member who promotes anti-Semitism, and the ban of all political parties supporting Neo-Nazi ideology.
“I consider this award, which bears the name of Theodor Herzl, an obligation never to be satisfied with what has been achieved, but to continue to strive for a better future together with our partners,” said Chancellor Merkel.
On October 27-29, 2019, a regular meeting of the Executive Committee of the World Jewish Congress was held in Munich. The Jewish Confederation of Ukraine is a member of the World Jewish Congress and represents Ukraine in this organization. The JCU delegation included the JCU President and Vice President of the World Jewish Congress Boris Lozhkin, Honorary President of the JCU Borys Fuksman, Chief Rabbi of Kyiv and Ukraine, Vice President of the World Jewish Congress, member of the Presidium of the JCU Jacob Dov Bleich; co-president of the VAAD of Ukraine (Association of the Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine), Vice-President of the World Jewish Congress, member of the Supervisory Board of the JCU Andrii Adamovskyi, and the JCU Executive Director Inna Ioffe.