On Sunday, Belgium welcomed its first woman and first Jew took to serve as prime minister.
By United with Israel Staff
This week, Belgian Funds Minister Sophie Wilmes took over the position of prime minister from Charles Michel, who will be replacing Donald Tusk as European Council president.
Wilmes, a mother of four, will hold the position of caretaker prime minister until a new coalition is formed, a process that has been slow-moving so far.
Belgium has not had a full federal government since Michel’s coalition collapsed in December 2018.
According to the JTA, Wilmes mother is Jewish and her father is not.
“She hid her Jewish identity, though it seems to be a private detail from her biography and not something connected to any policy-making aspect,” Philippe Markiewicz, the president of the Consistoire organization of Belgian Jewry told the JTA.
An unnamed source from Wilmes francophone liberal party told JTA that Judaism had recently become “a more important factor than before” in Wilmes’ life.
Belgium isn’t the only country outside of Israel to have a Jewish prime minister.
Ukraine’s current prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman is also Jewish,
In fact, Ukraine is the first country outside of Israel to have both a Jewish prime minister and president serving at the same time.
Jewish Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky won Ukraine’s 2019 presidential election with a whopping 73% of the vote, a tally never reached by a presidential candidate in Ukraine.
In his first address to the Ukrainian parliament, Zelensky said that Ukraine must be “like the Israelis in defending our land.”