A crisis center in Belgium

Not joking.

The following conversation took place between the representative of a Jewish organization and a member of a crisis center which helps family members of victims of the terrorist attacks that occurred on March 22, 2016 in Brussels. Tapfer im Nirgendwo transcribed the conversation.

Caller: Hello. I am a volunteer for the Jewish Coordinating Committee in Antwerp. We have been contacted by two people of the Jewish community who were injured in the attacks at the airport.

Crisis center: Yes.

Caller: They’re getting ready to return to Israel. Members of our organization are involved with the matter and are taking care of things. We were informed by the hospital that we need special papers from the police so that they can be released from the hospital. Is that right? Whom should we contact? Could you fill me in?

Crisis center: I’ll see. So, they want to return to Palestine.

Caller: Not Palestine. Israel!

Crisis center: Yes, but that was formerly Palestine, of course. Okay.

Caller: Could you repeat that again? How is the place called?

Crisis center: Palestine.

Caller: Can I have your name, please?

Crisis center: Of course. Zakharia.

Caller: And you know only Palestine? No Israel?

Crisis center: What?

Caller: Israel, you’ve never heard of it? Only Palestine?

Crisis center: I know that the Jews went to Palestine and that there’s a war between Palestine and Israel, of course. And the occupation, that’s what’s in the news, of course.

Caller: Can you help me with the question that I have, or not?

Crisis center: Of course, of course. So, they want to return to Palestine and require certification. (The man types on his computer.) I’ve taken it down.

Caller: Can I have your name again. I didn’t get it.

Crisis center: It’s Zakharia.

Caller: Zakharia?

Crisis center: That’s it.

Caller: Zakharia and further? What’s your surname?

Crisis center: I am not obligated to give my surname.

Caller: Okay. Thank you.

Crisis center: You’re welcome. Bye.


Peter Mertens, spokesman for the crisis center, explained:

„We regret this incident very much and distance ourselves from those statements. They are contrary to our values. We have asked the crisis center to take steps against the employee. Something like that shouldn’t happen again. It’s sad that something like that could happen at all. It’s totally unacceptable, but it was an isolated case.“

(Translation: William Wires)

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