update deskIsrael at War

Herzog’s Holland trip to focus on hostage release and global antisemitism

The Israeli president will participate in the opening of the National Holocaust Museum in Amsterdam.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog speaks at the annual Jerusalem Conference of the Besheva group, Feb. 25, 2024. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog speaks at the annual Jerusalem Conference of the Besheva group, Feb. 25, 2024. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog will travel to the Netherlands on Sunday in a one-day visit focused on bringing about the release of the 134 hostages still held by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, as well as raising awareness for the global rise in antisemitism in the wake of the Oct. 7 terror attacks on southwestern Israel, the President’s Residence announced on Thursday.

Herzog will be joined by the family of the late Maj. (res.) Yitzhar Hoffman, who fell in battle in northern Gaza earlier this year. The Hoffman family was saved during WWII by Dutch Christians, who were later recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center.

Herzog will also participate in the opening of the National Holocaust Museum. The ceremony in Amsterdam’s Portuguese Synagogue will be held in the presence of Holland’s King Willem-Alexander, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and representatives of Austria and Germany.

The president is also expected to visit a Jewish school and meet with local community leaders.

“President Herzog will raise the ongoing and vital struggle to secure the release of all the hostages held by Hamas. He will also emphasize the important need to combat global antisemitism, and stress the centrality of Israel in the Jewish world,” the statement said.

In the first three weeks after Hamas launched its terror onslaught on Oct. 7, murdering some 1,200 people, the Israeli government recorded a 500% surge in antisemitic incidents worldwide, compared to the same period in 2022.

Following the announcement of the trip, Haroon Raza, a Rotterdam-based attorney affiliated with the anti-Israel March 30 Movement, told local media he filed an “urgent appeal” with the International Criminal Court in The Hague calling for Herzog’s arrest and prosecution.

Raza’s complaint charged the Israeli head of state, who plays a largely ceremonial role, with alleged “involvement in war crimes, crimes against humanity, and acts of genocide” in Gaza, Judea and Samaria.

A legal official at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Ynet that “there is no risk of the president’s arrest in the Netherlands because, as a sitting president, he enjoys immunity [under international law].”

Since the start of the war, Haroon has filed dozens of complaints against Israeli citizens, including JNS correspondent Akiva Van Koningsveld. So far, nobody has been arrested. Meanwhile, Haroon is facing disciplinary action by the Dutch Bar Association over his frivolous claims.

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