Belgian Jewry finally elects president

Nearly a year after voting began, a Belgian Jewry organization elected a president.

Joel Rubinfeld, the former chairman of the Belgium-Israel Friendship Association, was chosen by the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Organizations of Belgium.

Wednesday’s election in Brussels culminated seven rounds of voting that began last December.

Rubinfeld was elected with 25 votes from the 38 organizations participating in the umbrella organization’s election.

The drawn-out election, in which the winner was required to win at least 60 percent of the vote, caused a rift in the organization. Candidates previously had been elected by consensus and without a real contest.

Rubinfeld was cast by his opponents as too outspoken and right wing, while he argued that the group’s previous leadership had been soft on anti-Semitism.

The Coordinating Committee predominantly represents the 17,000 French-speaking Jews of Belgium, while the 17,000 Flemish Jews of Antwerp have their own coordinating body.

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