Executive Committee Meeting

Madrid, 20-22 March 2023

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The World Jewish Congress convened a meeting of its Executive Committee in Madrid on 21-22 March at which the organization issued a critical report outlining European governments’ progress in developing action plans to tackle antisemitism. The report was shared ahead of meetings in Madrid with the King of Spain His Majesty Felipe VI and the country’s Foreign Ministry.

‍The program, hosted in cooperation with the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, included a joint session of the WJC Executive Committee and members of the WJC Special Envoys & Coordinators Combating Antisemitism (SECCA) forum, led by EU Commission Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life Katharina von Schnurbein and attended by United States Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism Deborah Lipstadt as well as more than two dozen national-level officials tasked with developing their respective action plans to fight antisemitism and foster Jewish life.  

Members of the WJC’s Executive Committee and SECCA met for a joint working-session and  traveled to the El Pardo Royal Palace for a private audience with King Felipe VI to express gratitude for the country’s approach to addressing antisemitism and fostering Jewish life.

Spain, which last month approved a national plan to implement the European Strategy to Combat Antisemitism for 2023-2030, will assume the presidency of the Council of the European Union on July 1.

The WJC group then moved to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union, and Cooperation for a luncheon.

Roundtable sessions in advance of the formal committee meetings centered on the role of youth and women empowerment within the context of Jewish communities. Internal discussions among WJC officials and SECCA members continue Wednesday in a closed forum.

About the Malmö Gap analysis report

The report tracks initiatives that emerged from Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism in October 2021, when nations focused on concrete steps to counter antisemitism and other forms of hatred and worked to advance Holocaust education and remembrance.

Strikingly, leaders from 35% of the Jewish communities that took part in the report said their governments had established an adequate legislative framework to prosecute antisemitic hate-speech and crimes. Yet just 22% said pledges made in Malmö were relevant for their actual needs, while 16% claimed that the pledges had been completely implemented.

Click Here to Download Report
Welcome Letter from Amb. Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress

Dear Friends,  

We are delighted to have the great privilege of welcoming you to Madrid.

In a time overshadowed by many challenges, it is important to gather in person to discuss the many obstacles facing the Jewish people and humanity at large, and find creative solutions to address the most pressing issues of our time, especially as Spain prepares to take over the presidency of the Council of European Union in July 2023. 

We are particularly excited to host the first meeting of the Executive Committee in 2023 in Spain. Despite its complicated history,  Spain was once home to one of the largest, most prosperous, and most cultivated Jewish communities in the world. For many centuries, Jews lived in peaceful coexistence with their neighbors and prospered.

Our program will be filled with important conversations affecting the Jewish people around the world. We are delighted that we will have lunch with Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs José Manuel Albares Bueno, who has been a very good friend to the Jewish people. 

This meeting underscores the importance of fostering international cooperation, promoting cultural diversity, and advancing peace and stability throughout the world, and we look forward to a fruitful and productive exchange of ideas.

We are also thrilled to be joined by members of the WJC Special Envoys and Coordinators Combating Antisemitism (SECCA) Forum. The tireless work of these diplomats in addressing antisemitism is truly inspiring. We are excited that we will be able to learn from their expertise, hear about their experiences, and collaborate with them to continue our shared mission of creating a world that is inclusive and free of Jew-hatred.  

We must continue to build our global Jewish community so that we can live prosperous and flourishing lives as Jewish citizens. 

With best wishes,  
Ronald S. Lauder
World Jewish Congress

Welcome Letter from Isaac Benzaquén Pinto, President of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain

Dear Friends from WJC,

On behalf of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, we wish to welcome you to Madrid for the WJC Executive Committee meeting. We are looking forward to meeting you, in this time of continued uncertainty.

The Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain is the representative body of Spanish Jewry, and the Spanish affiliate of the World Jewish Congress. The 50,000 Jews living in Spain, mainly concentrated in the provinces of Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga, as well in the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla, form a thriving Jewish community, a significant portion of which are Spanish-speaking Jews who returned to Spain after centuries of exile in northern Morocco. Ashkenazi Jews (primarily from Latin America, but also of European origin) have also arrived in Spain over the last several decades.
In its heyday Spanish Jewry was one of the largest, most prosperous and cultivated Jewish communities in the world. Solomon Ibn Gabirol, Moses Ibn Ezra and Judah ha-Levi – followed by Maimonides – were the acknowledged geniuses of this “Golden Age” that came to an end in 1492 with the promulgation of the Edict of the Expulsion.
Spanish neutrality in World War II enabled 25,600 Jews to use Spain as an escape route from the Nazis and Spanish diplomats protected some 4,000 Sephardic Jews in France and the Balkans, against the will of their superiors. In 1944, the Spanish Embassy in Hungary aided in the rescue of Budapest’s Jews by accepting 2,750 refugees.

In 1964 the Jewish communities of Madrid and Barcelona created the so-called Israeli Communal Council. In 1967 the Franco regime approved a Religious Freedom Law, and under its protection communities were created in other cities.

The 1978 Constitution and the 1980 Organic Law on Religious Freedom created a new framework for religious minorities. In 1982, the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain (FCJE), was established and in 1992 and agreement of cooperation between FCJE and the State was signed.

Today, the Spanish Jewish community continues to flourish. The cities of Barcelona, Madrid and Melilla have Jewish schools. There are over 30 synagogues around the country, most of them Orthodox, but also Masorti in some cities, and a constant development of Jewish life.

Spain will be assuming the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2023 and it is within this framework that it recently adopted a national plan to combat antisemitism and foster Jewish life, as part of the European Union owns strategy to fight Jew hatred which, itself, is the first-ever EU Strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life and which adopted on 5 October 2021.

In this context, we hope that the meeting will be an excellent opportunity for strengthening ties.

We wish you a productive and pleasurable visit to Madrid.
Isaac Benzaquén Pinto
Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain



9:00 - 19:00


InterContinental Hotel, Albeniz Foyer‍‍
12:00 - 13:30

Informal Buffet Lunch

InterContinental Hotel, Albeniz


13:30 - 15:00

Women’s Representation in Positions of Leadership

InterContinental Hotel, Granados

Working session led by WJC Commissioner on Gender Equality and Inclusion, Ms. Marie van der Zyl OBE, organized together with the WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps.


Coffee Break

15:30 - 17:00

Taking Action to Safeguard the Future for Jewish Youth

InterContinental Hotel, Granados

Joint session with members of the WJC NextGen program discussing the resolutions of the Jewish Youth Assembly.


Transfer to

19:00 - 21:00


Beth Yaakov Synagogue
8:30 - 10:30


InterContinental Hotel, Albeniz

Joint session focusing on the development and implementation of National Action Plans to combat antisemitism and to safeguard and promote Jewish life in various countries around the world.

10:30 - 11:00

Coffee Break

11:00 - 13:00



Transfer to

13:30 - 16:00

Lunch Honoring Spanish Foreign Minister

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Lunch hosted by Amb. Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, with guest of honor H.E. Mr. José Manuel Albares Bueno, Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of the Kingdom of Spain, with invited dignitaries and members of the Diplomatic Corps in Madrid.

20:00 - 21:30

Informal Dinner

InterContinental Hotel, Villahermosa‍
9:30 - 12:00


InterContinental Hotel, Albeniz

Report by Amb. Ronald S. Lauder, WJC President

Report by Mrs. Chella Safra, WJC Treasurer

Matters of Business

Discussion: The current situation in Israel and the implication for World Jewry [Off the Record]

Any Other Business

12:00 - 13:30

Informal Closing Lunch

InterContinental Hotel, Villahermosa‍


No items found.

Dress Code

Executive Committee Sessions & Meeting: Business Professional 

Vatican Sessions: Business Formal (no short skirts)

Other Activities: Casual

Logistical Note


The WJC secretariat is in the InterContinental Madrid, First floor, Toledo meeting room.
Telephone: Internal 1123, External +34 917 007 322 external
For general questions regarding the Executive Committee Meeting,
please contact Mila Stojanovic: protocol@wjc.org, +32 495 51 09 17


The wearing of masks,and social distancing, are currently NOT mandatory in Madrid.

If you experience any COVID symptoms, please take a self-test (available from WJC staff) and if you test positive, please inform WJC staff and remain in isolation. If you need aPCR test for your return flight, or any other assistance, WJC staff will behappy to help.


WJC SECURITY CONTACT - Frank Fischer: +49 171 3156131

In light of today’s increased threats against the Jewish institutions and events around the world,we kindly ask you to follow the outlined security instructions:

Please wear your WJCAccess Badge in a visible manner at all times. In addition, please carry your passport with you at all times.

In the event of a security emergency or threat please call the emergency services at 112 and then inform WJC personnel.

In the event that you misplace your WJC access badge, report it immediately to an identified member of the WJC staff or to identified security personnel.  

Do not leave your bags or personal effects unattended. All items are subject to search at all times.WJC reserves the right to bar entry of certain items.

Do not accept anything from a person you do not know. Familiarize yourself with any item you receive from known persons.

In the event of an emergency – remain calm and follow the instructions of the WJC staff or identified security personnel.

If you see something – say something: Immediately report anything suspicious to an identified member of the WJC staff or to identified security personnel.  

Thank you for your attention and cooperation!


All Food Provided is Kosher Under Orthodox Rabbinical Supervision