(EJP/JNS) Thirty-eight-year-old Michael Freilich, former editor-in-chief of Joods Actueel in Antwerp, a Jewish magazine founded by his grandfather Louis Davids, was elected to a seat in the Belgian parliament.
Freilich, who ran on the list of N-VA (New Flemish Alliance), a right-wing Flemish nationalist party, reportedly received nearly 13,000 preferential votes in Antwerp, from both the Jewish and non-Jewish residents of the city.
Freilich’s election marks the first time an observant Jew will serve in the Belgian federal parliament.
When he announced his entry into politics earlier this year during a press conference with NV-A leader and Antwerp Mayor Bart De Wever, Freilich explained that the party “fits in with many of my beliefs, which value Enlightenment in a common Judeo-Christian tradition without imposing obligations on others.”
He also explained that he wanted “to do something about things that concern me, including immigration, terrorism and extremism.” Regarding terrorism, he asked, “Is it normal that heavily armed soldiers still have to guard our schools and streets?”
He emphasized that he does not want to be seen as standing up only for the Jewish community.