At a ceremony on Wednesday marking Israel’s 70th anniversary, held at the Great Synagogue in Brussels, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel declared that “Belgium without Jews is not Belgium.”

In his address, Michel emphasized the contribution of the Jewish community to the development of Belgium in the arts, sciences, research, innovation, and economic and social fields.

He also condemned a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents across Europe. “Our solidarity against anti-Semitism is unconditional and total,” said Michel.

“Every day, our values ​​are put to the test; anti-Semitic and denial acts are still committed in Belgium. I cannot accept it. Our country can not accept it,” he said.

Michel recalled a visit he made last year to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem. “Among the 27,000 Righteous Among the Nations, 1,731 are Belgians. They are the honor and pride of our country. They are our dignity,’’ he stated.

As early as Jan. 29, 1949, Belgium recognized the State of Israel.

“For 70 years,” the Belgian premier said, “extremely strong links have been forged between our two countries.”