fficial government crisis hotline has been established in Belgium following the recent terror attack that killed 35 people and injured hundreds. Many of the wounded are foreign nationals, including several Israelis.
So what happens when a Jewish aid volunteer calls the crisis center to arrange transport for Israeli victims? He is told that Israel does not exist, and that the victims can instead “go to Palestine.” The Times of Israelreports:
….when a Jewish volunteer called up the Belgian government’s Crisis Center to arrange flying the Israeli victims home, the operator – who identified himself only by the Arabic first name Zakaria – chose to inform him that Israel doesn’t exist, and insisted the victims should be sent to “Palestine.”
The shocking incident, along with an audio recording of the conversation, was published in the Belgian Jewish monthly Joods Actueel.
An English transcript of the call is provided below (emphasis mine):
XXX: Good afternoon, my name is XXX, I am a volunteer in the Jewish coordination committee of Antwerp. We are contacted by persons… we have 2 persons of the Jewish community that were hurt in the attacks in the airport
Crisis Centre: Yes sir
XXX: They are prepared to be transported back to Israel. Our volunteers are busy with it and take care of everything but we received information from the hospital that we need special papers from the police that they can be released. Is this correct and to who should we ask that? Can you tell me more about that?
CC: That is effectively.. I will take a look. So … they go back to Palestine.
XXX: Not Palestine, Israel.
CC: Yes, but that was before Palestine, of course. OK