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Austria Will Keep Reminding Middle East and Europe ‘Israel Is Here to Stay’

June 11, 2018 News

PM Netanyahu & Austrian Chancellor Kurz. Photo courtesy of Haim Zach (GPO).

According to this world leader, Israel’s security is a moral obligation and has promised to keep telling the Middle East and Europe that “Israel is here to stay.” Those words weren’t posted to Twitter by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but on the account of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

“It is our duty & obligation to ensure that the #Shoah will never happen again, to fight all forms of anti-Semitism w determination and to ensure that we will never forget these horrible crimes,” tweeted Kurz, referencing the Hebrew word for the Holocaust in a series of posts following a speech given to the American Jewish Committee in Jerusalem on Monday.

“As Austrians we will support #Israel whenever it is threatened. It‘s our moral obligation, our ‚Staatsräson‘, to be committed to the security of Israel which is not negotiable to us,” tweeted Kurz.

The strong, pro-Israel statements came the same day Kurz expressed similar sentiments to Netanyahu—and he’s bringing that attitude to the European Union presidency when his nation takes the mantle on July 1.

“We also know that our responsibility does not end at our borders. We want to support the State of Israel and also your security needs, you mentioned that,” Kurz told Netanyahu in separate comments published by the Israeli leader’s office.

“You live in a dangerous neighborhood and your neighbors are not like ours—Liechtenstein or Switzerland. And so we understand the difference. But we understand that your situation is a different one and therefore we will try to raise awareness in Europe for the special situation and the special security needs of Israel.”

Not surprisingly, Netanyahu appreciates Kurz’s support.

“You know very well that Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East. It’s the one place in the region that shares and defends the values that Europe holds dear: freedom, pluralism, equality,” said Netanyahu. “…I believe that you said yesterday that Europe should take Israel’s security concerns into account. I think this is very important. Sometimes we feel that that is not always the case.”

In addition to his backing of Israel’s security, Kurz also took responsibility for his nation’s role in the Holocaust.

“We Austrians know that in light of our own history, we have a special responsibility towards Israel and the Jewish people,” said Kurz. “I can assure you that Austria will fight all forms of anti-Semitism in Europe with determination. Be it the still existing one or also new imported anti-Semitism.”

Netanyahu listed out the steps Kurz has done in that arena. Kurz set up a place of remembrance in Vienna that lists the names of all 60,000 Austrian Jews who died in the Holocaust; he has funded youth visits to the Mauthausen concentration camp; and he announced a four million euro fund for a heritage center in the Israeli Yad Vashem Holocaust museum.

“You said, and I want to quote this, ‘Austria was not only a victim but also a perpetrator.’ These are courageous and bold words and I think they chart the course that you’re leading in Austria and our relationship, one that I support very, very much,” said Netanyahu. “You have backed up your words with actions.”

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, June 11, 2018)

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