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Israeli Delegation to The Hague Finds Warm Jewish Welcome Courtesy of Chabad

Israeli Ambassador to the Netherlands: “Chabad … Radiates Warmth and Hope”

The Hague saw an outpouring of Jewish pride as an Israeli delegation—composed of Israeli legal scholars and politicians as well as family members of hostages held by Hamas—arrived in the Netherlands to defend Israel at the International Court of Justice. Chabad was at the forefront of ensuring that the Jewish needs of the delegation would be met during their stay. 

On Thursday, the first day of the proceedings, a large crowd of people demonstrated for Israel outside the ICJ. At the end of their march route, they were greeted by the smiling faces of rabbis Akiva Camisar and Dovi Pinkovitch of the Chabad Israeli center in Amsterdam, as well as members of Chabad at The Hague, offering hot soup, coffee, and the opportunity to put on tefillin

On Friday morning, Chabad at The Hague hosted the family members of hostages and the delegation of the Israeli Foreign Ministry for lunch and a prayer service at the Jewish Community’s center. Those gathered at the service heard remarks from Israel’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Modi Ephraim, as well as from Rabbi Shmuel Katzman, who directs Chabad at The Hague.

“Your loved ones are being held captive, you are all being held captive, and to a certain extent, all of us are being held captive as well,” Katzman said. “The entire Jewish people—in fact all people with a sense of humanity—are being held captive with you!”

“We are with you! Does that make the suffering any less? It may be easier to carry such a heavy burden knowing that you are not carrying it alone.”

In front of the Peace Palace that Friday afternoon, Chabad volunteers helped set up a Shabbat table display, and the Israeli delegation stopped to recite Kiddush, welcoming Shabbat thousands of miles from home. Then it was on to Shabbat services and dinner hosted by Chabad, as Ambassador Ephraim, Rabbi Katzman, and several family members of hostages again addressed the delegation.

Ambassador Ephraim expressed his gratitude to Chabad of The Hague for everything they do for the local Jewish community, including the Jewish staff at the embassy. “The activities of Chabad in The Hague are indispensable,” Ephraim said. “I am thankful for their endeavors throughout the year, organizing activities and providing hospitality to the staff and the diplomats of the embassy … The projects organized by Chabad shine a light that radiates warmth and hope.”

Ephraim remarked upon the impactful work that Chabad in The Hague has done since the events on October 7th, stating that the memorial services and other volunteer work and acts of solidarity organized by Chabad had resonated in the Netherlands and beyond. He thanked Rabbi Katzman for his support, stating, “When families of hostages came to visit, Chabad provided them a seat at the Shabbat table, making them feel at home.”

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