i24NEWS – Austria pledges to grant citizenship to Holocaust victim descendants

Will be interesting to see whether there is much take up by descendants:

The newly minted Austrian government will grant citizenship to the descendants of Holocaust victims, Haaretz reported Tuesday.The decision comes in the wake of a diplomatic spat between Israel and Vienna as Austria’s new coalition between the conservatives and the far-right Freedom Party was sworn in on Monday, rekindling an alliance from the early 2000s which prompted unease around Europe.

The Freedom Party, led by Heinz-Christian Strache, has a past stained by frequent anti-Semitic incidents and instances of Nazi propaganda, which is why a harsh Israeli response was widely expected

According to a statement released by the Israeli government, “Israel will continue to work with civil servants of the Ministries headed by members of the Freedom Party”, but will also “continue to struggle against Anti-semitism” and “for the commemoration of the Holocaust.”

Some Israeli media have interpreted the statement as a “boycott” of the Freedom Party Ministers at the political level, since it says that “working relations” will continue with “civil servants”.

Others have emphasized that working relations will go on, reading the statement as a weak reaction. The reaction is certainly milder than in 2000, when the Freedom Party first joined a coalition government and Israeli authorities withdrew the Ambassador from Vienna.

Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache has traveled to Israel a number of times, and developed ties with representatives of the Israeli right. In one of his last trips, however, late Israeli President Shimon Peres had refused to meet him.

via i24NEWS – Austria pledges to grant citizenship to Holocaust victim descendants

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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