ECI honoured the Jewish New Year with meetings in Jerusalem - Israel is not the problem in the Middle East but the solution to its many problems

Jerusalem, 10th September, 2015 - As the European Parliament reconvened in Brussels after the summer recess last week, the European Coalition for Israel travelled to Jerusalem in honour of the upcoming Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, and for meetings with Israeli government officials.  At a dinner meeting in Hotel Yehuda in Jerusalem on Thursday evening, Founding Director Tomas Sandell explained why Christians in Europe find it important to stand on the side of Israel and the Jewish people in this volatile season.

- The state of Israel represents everything that is right in the Middle East. While many of its neighbours fall deeper into an abyss of radical Islam, the state of Israel continues to prosper.

According to a new study which was published in June this year, the citizens of Israel are the 11th happiest people in the world, ahead of the United States. The World Happiness Report is a survey of global societal well-being that ranks 158 countries by happiness levels using variables such as GDP per capita and healthy life expectancy. The report also includes extra factors such as social support, generosity, freedom to make life choices, and perceived absence of corruption.

- In no other country in the region can Jews and Arabs live with the same prospects for a good quality of life than in the Jewish state.  For these reasons the European Union should stop its policy of undermining the Israeli government and instead try to make the other countries in the region learn from Israel. Israel is not the problem in the region but the solution to many of its problems, Sandell said.

In his speech, Daniel Meron, Head of Bureau for UN and International Organisations at the Foreign Ministry, mentioned the many areas where nations can learn from Israeli innovations, from renewable energy to agricultural technology.

Meron praised ECI for its efforts on behalf of the state of Israel at the European Union in Brussels and the United Nations in New York which has resulted in a new level of recognition of Jewish holidays. He pointed out that this year there will be no activities in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.  ECI has for the last two years called upon the UN to respect the Jewish holidays. In a separate meeting at the UN headquarters in New York last week between the Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General also brought up the UN decision to avoid meetings on Yom Kippur as a step in the right direction.

This year the General Debate of the UN General Assembly has been postponed to September 28th, in respect for the Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha and the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. This is the first time in UN history that there are no UN activities on Yom Kippur.

In his dinner speech, ECI Director for UN Affairs Gregory Lafitte explained why the European Coalition for Israel finds it important to celebrate the Jewish holidays.

- The antidote to the rise of anti-Semitism is not merely to tolerate the Jewish people and their culture but to honour and celebrate their many contributions to mankind which can be illustrated in the Jewish holidays.

European Coalition for Israel has made it a tradition to begin the new working term by meeting in Jerusalem, thus honouring the centrality of Jerusalem as the capital of the modern state of Israel and the cradle of our Judeo-Christian civilisation.

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, begins on Sunday evening, 13th September.