An operator in the Belgian Federal Emergency Hotline told a Jewish caller that Israel does not exist. A representative with the Jewish Coordination Committee contacted the Federal Hotline to get permits to send Jews wounded in attacks back to Israel.
The call was recorded following the attacks on the Brussels airport. The audio recording was posted on the website of Joods Actueel, a Belgian Jewish monthly.
The transcript is as follows (english translation):
Jewish Coordination Committee Volunteer: Good morning. I’m a volunteer for the Jewish Coordination Counsel in Antwerp. We have two Jews who were injured in the attack at the airport.
Belgian Federal Emergency Hotline: Yes, go ahead.
Jewish Coordination Committee Volunteer:They are ready to be transported to Israel. Our volunteers are making sure that everything is in place, but we received information from the hospital that we need a special permit from the police to get them released from the hospital. Whom do we need to speak with in order to get this permit?
Belgian Federal Emergency Hotline: Let me check. They need to go to Palestine.
Jewish Coordination Committee Volunteer: (Pause) Not Palestine. Israel.
Belgian Federal Emergency Hotline: Yes, but it was Palestine before, of course.
Jewish Coordination Committee Volunteer: Can you repeat that for me? What’s your name?
Belgian Federal Emergency Hotline: It’s Palestine.
Jewish Coordination Committee Volunteer: Can I get your name please?
Belgian Federal Emergency Hotline: Of course. It’s Zachariah.
Jewish Coordination Committee Volunteer: And you only recognize Palestine?
Belgian Federal Emergency Hotline: Sorry?
Jewish Coordination Committee Volunteer: You don’t recognize Israel, correct? Only Palestine?
Belgian Federal Emergency Hotline: I only know that the Jews went to live there, that Palestine accepted them, and that there is a war between Israel and Palestine, of course. And the occupation. That what’s always on the news.
Jewish Coordination Committee Volunteer: Are you able to assist me with my request?
Belgian Federal Emergency Hotline: Yes, of course. They are returning to Palestine and they asked if they can receive a permit. Of course. Here it is.
A spokesperson for the federal crisis center said that it deeply deplores the”isolated case” and will take “necessary actions” against the offending staffer who was a call center employee.
This recording follows multiple cases in which people who were wearing traditional Muslim or Arabic clothing removed Israeli flags from the impromptu memorial set up for the Brussels attack victims.
In 2014 during the IDF operation Protective Edge, a 90 year old Jewish woman was refused service by a belgian doctor, telling her to go to “Gaza for a few hours.”
Belgium has been criticized for its ignorance on terrorism growing within its borders. The recent Paris attackers had reportedly crafted their plot to kill Westerners. The relative lax police activity in Molenbeek allowed them to move freely about while the conspired to kill. Weeks before the Brussels airport bombing, Israeli experts examined their security. They identified multiple weaknesses and warned them about their lax security. Over 30 people were killed in the Brussels bombings.