Lapid urges unity at WJC conference

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid emphasized the importance of Jewish unity at the opening event of the World Jewish Congress’ annual convention in Jerusalem.

Former Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, speaking at the opening event of the convention on Monday evening, sounded skeptical about Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

At the conference, Lapid recounted his recent trip to Budapest, where he addressed the Hungarian National Assembly. He spoke of his father’s escape from the Nazis in Budapest in 1945 and said that enduring anti-Semitism gave Jews worldwide an imperative to come together.

“If someone raises his hand against a Jew in Detroit, it is happening to you,” Lapid said. “If Muslims are stabbing a Jewish rabbi in the streets of Paris, it is happening to me. We want to forget but we can’t forget because this is still happening to me. History told us that ignoring is never the right policy. Anti-Semitism has raised its head again.”

Liberman said Israeli-Palestinian peace talks will not succeed without economic progress in Palestinian society.

“It is impossible to impose peace,” he said. “It is possible to work for peace. And today it is being imposed. To bring first a political solution, without resolving economic and other issues, is a mistake and misunderstanding of our situation.”