(JNS) Belgium’s first female prime minister, Sophie Wilmès, is Jewish.
This week she replaced Charles Michel and will lead an interim government until a coalition is formed. Michel left for a European Union position after his cabinet broke up last year. Both belong to the center-left MR Party.
Wilmès’ mother is an Ashkenazic Jew who lost several relatives in the Holocaust. The 44-year-old holds a degree in applied communication and a degree in financial management, and previously worked as an economic and financial adviser in a law firm.
The Jewish population of Belgium numbers about 35,000. In recent years the country has seen an increase in anti-Semitism and even physical attacks on Jews.
Nevertheless, the city of Aalst has continued to depict anti-Semitic caricatures of Jews and fostered old tropes in the forms of floats at its annual carnival.