Today, Monday, May 10th, the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry was inaugurated at Tel Aviv University. The Center, the first of its kind, will amongst many disciplines, study existing legislation on anti-Semitism in Europe and draft an ‘ideal law’ for combating the growing phenomenon.
The inauguration was addressed by Mr. Yossi Peled, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office , Spanish Ambassador to Israel and President of the European Union in Israel Alvao Iranzo and President of the European Jewish Congress Dr. Moshe Kantor, who the center is being named after. The ceremony was attended by the European ambassadors to Israel, Tel Aviv University Board of Governors, the leadership of the European Jewish Congress and representatives of the World Jewish Congress.
The inauguration included discussions titled ‘The Jewish Identity in Present-Day Europe’ and ‘Why Europe?’ by speakers such as Professor Dina Porat, Professor Itamar Rabinovich and Ambassador Oded Eran.
Kantor feels that there is a pressing need for a center to study European Jewry in Israel, where none currently exists. “Although Europe is currently third in actual numbers behind Israel and the US in terms of Jewish demography, it remains an integral and vital center for the Jewish past, present and future,” Kantor said. “We hope to preserve the memory of Jewish Europe’s past, while studying present trends and preparing for the future by creating legislation against anti-Semitism and revitalizing centers of European Jewry.”
The center will form a framework for interdisciplinary research of the aspects and characteristics of Jewish communities in Europe after the Holocaust. Despite the importance of these communities to the Jewish, Israeli and European life, such a center that encompasses the academic work and enables a comprehensive view on this subject does not exist at TAU, by all means a leading university in many fields, nor at any other Israeli university.
“The story of the Jewish People cannot be told without Europe, yet today very little attention is paid to European Jewry,” Kantor said. “Everything concerning the Jewish People and Israel still has strong connections to our continent.”
“The establishment of the Kantor Research Center on European Jewry is a constructive step towards reinforcing Jewish pride and identity” Said Prof. Yossi Klafter, President of Tel Aviv University. “The new center will support and coordinate between research projects on campus relating to European Jewry.”