Members of the European Conservatives and Reformists alliance arrived in Israel over the weekend to hold one of the group’s two annual conferences in Jerusalem.
Despite being part of the European Parliament, the ECR (of which Israel’s Likud Party is also a member), disagrees with Brussels’ stance that the European Union should not recognize the city as Israel’s capital. Indeed, no EU country has so far moved its embassy to Jerusalem.
The alliance has 66 members from 14 parties from around the world. Its president is Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, known for her warm relationship with Israel and who only a few months ago received an official request from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to consider moving the Italian embassy to Jerusalem.
While Israel’s Foreign Ministry boycotts some of the ECR’s extreme-right member parties, the alliance decided to hold its event in Israel despite this, according to an ECR official.
At a conference meeting on Sunday, ECR Secretary General Antonio Giordano revealed some of the pressures exerted on the alliance not to come to Israel:
“When we decided to organize the annual event in Jerusalem, shortly after the attack that took place in April, we were asked if we were sure of this decision. Our response was decisive: If not now, when?
“The people of the right show solidarity with each other not when there is power, to share it, but when you have to stand by friends in trouble,” he said.
During the weekend, alliance delegates were hosted by Israeli Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel on behalf of the Likud, and also visited Jerusalem holy sites.
“Those who share our view that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state must join forces,” Gamliel told alliance delegates. “We must operate proactively to preserve Jerusalem’s status.”
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