Antonio Tajani who served in recent years as the deputy and acting president of the European Parliament was chosen Tuesday to serve as president of the European parliament.
63-year-old Tajani defeated his left-wing rival by a significant margin and will serve for the next 2.5 years in place of Martin Schultz who served the two previous terms.
The Conference of European Rabbis welcomed Tajani's election. The head of the Conference, Moscow Chief Rabbi Pinhas Goldschmidt said that Tajani is a "true friend and lover of Israel who has proved in his actions and declarations that he is 'good for the Jews'".
In a speech before senior European rabbis and rabbinical judges and leaders of Jewish organizations from 32 European countries in Toulouse, Tajani said that "the children murdered in Toulouse were murdered for the same reason that Jews were murdered 70 years ago in Europe. The rise in anti-Semitic acts to 851 in 2014, double that of previous years must cause us to lead a determined fight against it and to eradicate it.
"We in the European Parliament will fight for the right to live on this continent as Jews. We respect the precepts of your faith and will fight without compromise for this right. The Jews are and were an important part of Europe's history, present and future and we will continue cooperation between the EU and the Conference of European Rabbis and its representatives in foiling anti-Jewish legislation and fighting anti-Semitism," said Tajani.
The Conference's representative in the EU, Belgian Chief Rabbi Avraham Gigi said that Tajani will balance the EU's attitude towards Israel as a "true friend of the Jewish nation."