How many nationalities do you have?
South Africa. Israeli italian North American And Spanish
Identity, what is it?
I am a wandering Jew. my homeland? The Book, the Bible, and all books: I am, above all, a reader.
Liberal and religious at the same time?
God does not love you if you do not freely choose him.
What do you know about your ancestors?
Josep Halevi, rabbi in Girona, in 1391 flees from the slaughter to Horowice, Moravia. The Halevi Horowitz, a famous rabbinic dynasty, lived in Poland for 500 years.
I learned Spanish and they gave me Spanish citizenship - I cried! i'm spanish Even though I don't eat ham.
How does it feel in Spain?
I even criticize Spain: I am Spanish!
Why does he admire Spain?
Spanish is a global language, Spanish culture is immense... And Spain is a great democracy in Europe.
With many imperfections.
You see it? That's why I like you more than the French, so chauvinist and centralist...
Is Spain not centralist?
And now! Spain is a nation of nations, much to the chagrin of Spanish nationalists and Catalan independence supporters.
Centripetals and centrifuges with matadagolla.
They share the same mistake: they believe that being a nation grants the right to independence.
How do you see Catalonia?
It is the richest and strongest autonomy in the world.
Are you a practicing Jew?
I am an orthodox Jew in my observance... and a liberal spirited human being.
Israel, Confessional State: Do you like it?
Modern Israel is a noble ideal. But I rebuke their religious coercion: there is no civil marriage, only religious... Every confessional State is violating religion.
Islamic republics are violating religion, then?
They betray religion! In addition to trampling on the very desirable liberal democracy.
Is imposing religion anti-religious?
Absolutely anti-religious. As Ratzinger says: “We do not impose our faith. Faith can only develop in freedom".
What should we do in Europe with the hijab, ban it or allow it?
Many Iranian women are risking their lives against the mandatory hijab in Iran. If we force women here not to wear hijab, we incur the same abuse as the ayatollahs.
You convinced the European Court of Human Rights of a certain thing...
That we had to allow the presence of crucifixes in Italian public schools.
How did he argue that?
The secular State, an honorable tradition, is not neutral: it opts for irreligion. Another State may opt for religious symbols. In fact, many states sport a cross on their flag. Should we delete it? No!
Secularist and secular are synonymous?
A secularist is one who preaches that everyone should be secular. It's like a religious confession.
Which states are the most neutral in the religious aspect?
In France or the United States, the State does not finance religious schools. On the other hand, in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, the State finances all kinds of schools, religious or not: secular, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim. What do you think is more neutral?
If you were a Christian, would you be Protestant or would you be Catholic?
It's hard enough being a Jew! "Jews are participants in God's salvation", declared the Vatican in 2015: that's enough for me.
Is Europe from a Christian matrix... or rather from a pagan matrix?
Europe is a fusion of Athens (and the Enlightenment) and Jerusalem (and Judeo-Christianity).
What distinguishes Europe from the United States, in the religious field?
An American politician would never declare that he is not a believer: that would be political suicide. There is hypocrisy, no doubt! But read the German Constitution: "The German people, aware of their responsibility before God and men...".
I am told that you have been involved in the thorough study of the trial of Jesus...
It is true: it is the judgment with the greatest impact in the history of the West. Yes, I will publish a book about this trial that will be explosive.
Does anti-Semitism persist in Europe?
Prejudices about Jews persist, such as that we are smart and rich. Hopefully!
The mayor's office of Barcelona broke its old twinning with Tel-Aviv...
This is anti-Semitism, since Barcelona continues to be twinned with Dubai, Shanghai, Ningbo, Istanbul..., which are pathetic models of democracy and pluralism.
What would you say to Holocaust deniers who might still be out there?
I hate those opinions, of course, but I will always defend everyone's right to express them freely. I'm a volterian!