Zurich Cantonal Parliament and Executive Council hold official
opening ceremony for the 2006/2007 parliamentary year in the
synagogue of the Jewish Community Zurich (ICZ)
Zurich (ots) - The new constitution of the Canton of Zurich,
approved by the electorate in spring 2005, contained a special
article which granted the two Jewish community organizations - the
Jewish Community Zurich (ICZ) and the Liberal Jewish Community (JLG)
- recognition under public law. One hundred and fifty years after
Jews received the right to settle in Canton Zurich, the new
constitution gives the Jewish community a similar status to that
accorded the Christian churches. This is recognition in the political
sphere for the status the Jewish community has enjoyed for decades in
its day-to-day contact with the public and above all the authorities.
It was against this background that Hartmuth Attenhofer, the
president designate of the cantonal parliament for 2006/2007, had the
idea of holding the ceremony to mark the opening of the legislative
period in a synagogue, rather than in a church as is customary. The
offer was received with enthusiasm by the Jewish community in Zurich
since it turned the enactment of a simple constitutional article into
a grand official act.
The official opening took place today in an impressive and
dignified ceremony at the Löwenstrasse Synagogue. The presence of
over 100 members of the Cantonal Council and the entire Executive
Council, as well as a large delegation from the Zurich City Council
and numerous guests from all political circles, gave the ceremony a
special character and filled every available seat in the synagogue.
The great interest in the ceremony shown by members of both Jewish
community organizations, ICZ and JLG, underlined the significance of
the event for the canton's Jews.
This special act of recognition is of great symbolic significance
not only for the Jewish people of Zurich, but for the Jewish
community throughout Switzerland and indeed for Jews and other
minority groups all over the world. It underlines the fact that
minorities in Zurich and Switzerland as a whole are well-integrated
and accepted, despite occasional statements to the contrary from
certain political quarters. The example of Zurich should stand as a
beacon and sends out a signal to the world about how successfully
different population groups can live together.