Watchdog: No proof Belgian insurer discriminated against Jewish school


(JTA) — There is no proof that a Belgian insurance company refused to insure a Jewish kindergarten because it was deemed too risky, a Brussels-based watchdog on anti-Semitism said.

The statement by the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism, or LBCA, follows reports last week that an unnamed firm declined to insure a Jewish kindergarten in Brussels, citing an elevated risk factor due to previous attacks on Jewish targets in Belgium and Western Europe.

Joel Rubinfeld, a co-founder of the national watchdog, told the La Capitale daily that after looking into the matter, “There was no proof confirming a discriminatory character with regards to a refusal.”

The news about the alleged refusal came from the European Jewish Association, a lobby group that operates the kindergarten in question. The association and the Israel-based Tal Rabina public relations office alerted media to the matter without naming the insurance company in question.

The association’s director, Menachem Margolin, and Tal Rabina’s office did not reply to JTA queries asking them to identify the insurance company to obtain their reaction.

“I spoke to Rabbi Margolin,” Rubinfeld wrote about the insurance issue. “He confirmed that the insurance company did not provide a document on the reason for the refusal, which an employee delivered orally.”

He also said the kindergarten found a competitor willing to insure it.

Margolin, a Chabad rabbi who also serves as director for the Rabbinical Center of Europe, stirred controversy in January when he called on Jewish communities to arm some members against terrorist attacks. The two organizations directed by Margolin have a tense relationship with some European Jewish lobbies and umbrella groups.

Recommended from JTA