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Dutch Mayor Refuses Pictures with Israel Envoy During Hanukkah Event

Dutch Mayor, Roelof Bleker, refused to be photographed in close proximity to the Israeli ambassador to the Netherlands after receiving an invitation to a Hanukkah celebration in Enschede.

Jaap Hartog, the chairman of the Enschede synagogue, had extended the invitation to Bleker for the celebration of Hanukkah and the synagogue’s 95th anniversary on Monday night and also reserved his seat beside the visiting Israeli Ambassador Modi Ephraim.

However, hours before the event, Hartog received a call from Bleker outlining certain conditions, which included not being seated next to Ephraim and not being required to shake hands with him during the event.

“The mayor didn’t want to sit next to the ambassador, didn’t want to shake hands with him and especially didn’t want to shake hands with a photographer present, so he wouldn’t have trouble with photos in the media,” Hartog told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

In response, Hartog withdrew the invitation to the mayor. Despite this, Bleker attended and was accommodated, finding a seat on the synagogue’s balcony among other guests.

Bleker explained that his aim was to maintain distance from the conflict of Israel’s bombing of Gaza and avoid images that could spark controversy.

“I am there for all Enschede residents and therefore want to stay away from international conflicts,” he said in a statement issued on the following day.

Israel has killed more than 18,600 Palestinians since 7 October, when it began its genocidal bombing campaign in Gaza, and wounded 50,600 others, according to Palestinian health authorities. The vast majority of the victims are children.

Source : MEMO