Tuesday, 1 Dec 2020 - 15 of Kislev, 5781

Belgium’s Prime Minister on the fifth position in The Jerusalem Post 2020 list of the ’50 most Influential Jews’

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The paper recalled that Sophie Wilmès is not only Belgium’s first Jewish Prime Minister but also the only Jewish Prime Minister in Europe, at a time when antisemitism is rising both in her country and on the continent itself.

Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès s listed in fifth position in the The Jerusalem Post 2020 ‘’list of the 50 Most Influential Jews’’ which was just published.

‘’Many people influence the world we live in and impact our daily lives.
This year, we strived to create a list showcasing the diversity of the Jewish nation while highlighting people from all walks of life – government, art, medicine, literature and science,’’ The Jerusalem Post said.

The paper recalled that Sophie Wilmès is not only Belgium’s first Jewish Prime Minister but also the only Jewish Prime Minister in Europe, at a time when antisemitism is rising both in her country and on the continent itself.

Wilmès’s mother is an Ashkenazi Jew who lost several relatives in the Holocaust.

She has spoken out against antisemitism on several occasions.

When demonstrators at a pro-Palestinian rally in Brussels called for a ‘’war against the Jews’’ leading to judiciary complaints, her spokesperson told European Jewish Press that the Prime Minister ‘’has always strongly condemned any anti-Semitic speech and, more generally, all hate speech.’’

She also spoke out last year against an antisemitic parade in the Belgian city of Aalst which featured Jews with hooked noses or SS officers.

“The federal government is sensitive to the reactions to some floats and costumes at the carnival.” Whereas the event is “much more than only that,” she wrote, ”these actions damage our values and the reputation of our country.”

Jewish groups and Israel had called on Belgiu to ban the parade.

Wilmès’s mother is an Ashkenazi Jew who lost several relatives in the Holocaust.

Last week, she sent on Facebook her ‘’best wishes to all of you celebrating Rosh Hashanah this Friday.’’

In her message in French and Flemish she wrote: ‘’I hope this New Year brings you joy, happiness and comfort despite the ordeal. May the party be beautiful but above all safe from a health perspective.’’

In an interview last month she said that the fact that her mother is Jewish ‘’is an important element’’ in her life ‘’but it is not the sole.’’

‘’It is part of important elements that are building myself. One has not only one identity,’’ she added.

A former Budget Minister, 45-year-old Wilmès succeeded Prime Minister Charles Michel after he was named President of the European Council in 2019. Both belong to the liberal center-right MR Party.

She is leading a minority government which was granted special powers to deal with the coronavirus crisis. Negotiations are ongoing to form a new federal coalition government. Belgium has a world record of days without a ‘’full office government.” Wilmes was named as a possible next Prime Minister.

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