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Greece commemorates officially the 27th of January as the Holocaust Remembrance Day since 2004, with the Greek Parliament’s unanimous vote.

Commemoration events, cultural and educational activities are being held on annual basis under the auspices of the regional authorities (prefectures) in Athens, Thessaloniki, Larissa, Volos and Ioannina in coordination with the respective Jewish Communities. Apart from customary wreath laying ceremonies at Holocaust memorials, this year’s events have included a special hearing at the Greek Parliament, which was held for the first time as a tribute to the Holocaust victims, as well as a number of educational and cultural activities:

In ATHENS events started in the morning of the 27th of January 2016 with the unveiling ceremony of the Monument dedicated to the Greek Righteous Among the Nations. The monument, which includes the names of the 328 Greek righteous who helped Jews escape deportation, is placed on the courtyard of the Synagogue of Athens, and it was unveiled by the President of the Hellenic Republic. 

At noon a special commemoration ceremony took place in the Greek Parliament attended by Holocaust survivors and Greek Jewish leaders. It was addressed by the Speaker of the Parliament Nikos Voutsis and the Minister of Education Nikos Filis.

Victor Eliezer’s comment on Palestinian ambassador’s reaction to his article on the “Terrorism of the Knives”

In a letter published on the mainstream paper ‘Kathimerini’ (on February 2, 2016) the Ambassador of Palestinian Authority to Greece Marwan Toubassi strongly criticized Victor Eliezer’s article (published on ‘Kathimerini’ of November 11, 2015), entitled “Terrorism of the knives”, referring to the deadly attacks against Jewish Israelis in Israel.
In his letter, the Palestinian Ambassador accused Victor Eliezer of “embellishing the image of the occupying State of Israel” and that his article includes “a series of inaccurate and false statements”.

In reaction to the ambassador’s letter, Victor Eliezer posted the following comment on fb which was also sent to ‘Katimerini’ for publication:
“The truth worried the ambassador whose unfortunate to lack of arguments led him to insults against me, distortion of my viewpoints, and most importantly to an unprecedented hate preaching of cheap propaganda.  According to Mr. Toubassi the killers with knives are considered as “frustrated youngsters” who “get shot because they made a suspicious move such as putting their hand in their pocket” and those attacking bus stops are seen as “drivers who lost control of their vehicles”. This is the ambassador’s perception of peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians. It’s a pity!

Finally, Mr. Toubassi carefully avoided to comment on the conclusion of my article which reads: “the ongoing bloodshed ultimately reinforces the extremists. Yet the bloodshed can be stopped only through a political agreement, with the achievement of a just and lasting peace that will provide for the creation of an independent Palestinian State for the Palestinians and will ensure the existence of the State of Israel in secure borders.

As the renowned Israeli writer Amos Oz said: "In the same house we cannot be roommates, let's try to promise everyone his own house and create a calm neighborhood." It is clear why Mr. Toubassi did not make any comment: he rejects the solution of two states for two peoples, he supports the one-state solution, Palestine instead of Israel, not alongside Israel."

With the unveiling of the Greek Righteous Among the Nations monument, at the courtyard of the Beth Shalom Synagogue of Athens, that took place on Wednesday the 27th of January, 2016, as part of the commemorations for Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Greek Jewry paid due tribute to the heroes of the German Occupation, their Christian compatriots, who selflessly saved many Jews by risking their life and the lives of their families.

"Jews have a greater sense of appreciation for the Memory of these Heroes," underlined during his speech Benjamin Albalas, President of the European Council of Jewish Communities and former president of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and the Athens Jewish Community, who envisioned the creation of the monument. After the ordeal of the German Occupation and their persecution, Jewish survivors actually sought out their saviours to honour them. Moreover, Israel bestowed on them the honorific title and the "RIGHTEOUS Among the Nations" medal, the highest honour awarded by the State, officially recognizing and offering eternal gratitude to the people whose actions imparted to the word "Human" the loftiest and noblest value, endowing it with a transcendent meaning.

The unveiling of the Monument was carried out by the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos, and attended by few still alive Greek Righteous and by many descendants of the Greek Righteous as well as by survivors of the German Occupation. Speeches on the significance and important role of the Monument were delivered by: the President of the Athens Jewish Community, Mr. Minos Moissis; the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS), Moses Constantinis; and Mr. B. Albalas.

Monday, 01 February 2016 13:39

Attended by Holocaust survivors and the leaders of the Greek Jewry

The 27th of January has been officially established -by law that was passed unanimously by the Hellenic Parliament in 2004 -as a Memorial Day for the Greek Jewish Martyrs and Heroes of the Holocaust.

This year, on 27.1.2016, the Hellenic Parliament -following an initiative of its Speaker, Nikos Voutsis -commemorated, for the first time, the Holocaust Remembrance Day at a special event held in its plenary session hall with the attendance of holocaust survivors, representatives from institutions of the Greek Jewry, and Israeli diplomats. All political parties were present at the event, except for the Golden Dawn party.

The Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament, stated that this initiative honours the Hellenic Parliament and he concluded his speech by inviting all attendees to observe a minute's silence as a tribute to Holocaust victims.

Voutsis also announced that the Hellenic Parliament will co-sponsor the creation of a permanent exhibition in Auschwitz dedicated to the Greek Jews that were exterminated thereat. In his speech Voutsis noted: "...During the Holocaust, the material damages and human losses suffered by the Jewish Communities in many Greek cities were unprecedented. It is estimated that the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, one of the most prominent in Europe, lost 94% of its population. Not even Jews that had served as MPs for the constituency of Thessaloniki were able to escape persecution and death, and a commemoration will be held in their honour this Saturday at the hall of the City Council of Thessaloniki. The names of the MPs that lost their lives are: Allalouf Daniel (1881-1943, Insurance Broker), Ventura Jacques (1901-1943, Journalist), Kazes Michel (1905-1942, Typographer), Gatenio Leon (1863-1943), Bensantze Mintes (1881-1943, Publisher, Journalist), Siakki Isaac (1880-1943, Merchant), Soulam David (1880-1942, Professional), Tsenio Albert (1898-1943, Merchant). It is their memory that we honour today, joining the world-wide commemorations held by many countries. We are also paying our deepest respects to the Greek 'Righteous Among the Nations', who risked their own lives to save Jews persecuted by the Nazis and their collaborators."

Next took the floor the Minister of Education, Nikos Filis, who spoke about the Holocaust, its historical significance, the crime of genocide, and the responsibility shared by today's society and its institutions concerning youth education.
Wednesday, 20 January 2016 10:42
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece strongly condemns the vandal attack against the Dormition Abbey of the Benedictine monks in Jerusalem by extremist elements.

Hate graffiti that desecrates Christian holy sites in Jerusalem constitutes a threat and a sacrilege. We believe that the Israeli Authorities will soon trace down, apprehend and bring to Justice the perpetrators, so as to prevent similar acts from happening in the future. There must be zero tolerance for such acts of violence and hate.
Athens, January 20, 2016
Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece
Friday, 08 January 2016 12:46

The Wailing Wall was used in a cartoon posted on facebook by an internet group called “The Observatory” (Jan. 4) to mock Greek PM Tsipras’ decision to erect a monument, a “sacred wall”, dedicated to the executed activists of the Left during Greece’s civil war. The comment accompanying the cartoon trivializes the Western Wall by pointing out that this monument will be “SYRIZA’S Wailing Wall”, for tears of penitence to be spread over the unmet promises.  The inscription on the wall reads: “Wailing Wall of SYRIZA – Weep to be absolved of your sins”.

       * In reaction to this cartoon, which trivializes the Western Wall and the Jewish faith, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece issued the following announcement:

        «The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expresses its resentment over the use of a drawing of the Wailing Wall of Jerusalem, sacred site of the Jews, in a cartoon posted on the facebook account of the web community “Paratiritirio” (Observatory), aiming at mocking political controversies.

The religious comparison as well as the comments accompanying the post are condemnable for any sacred place they refer to.

It is our firm belief that satiric expression should respect all fundamental human rights along with the social, religious and cultural sensitivities of all groups of society».

Athens, January 8, 2016

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

Monday, 18 January 2016 11:54

By Victor Eliezer

“No one questions when Jews are killed because they are Jewish," the editor of the French satirical magazine 'Charlie Hebdo' wrote in a special edition marking the first anniversary of a terror attack on its staff and on the Jewish supermarket in Paris.
“We are so used to Jews being killed because they are Jewish,” Gérard Biard wrote. “This is an error, and not just on a human level. Because it’s the executioner who decides who is Jewish. November 13 [the day of the Paris terror attacks] was the proof of that. On that day, the executioner showed us that he had decided we were all Jewish.”
I read articles and analyses demonizing the State of Israel, demonizing the Israelis as “barbarian aggressors" who seek to exterminate the Palestinians, the “innocent victims."
I have the impression that the time has come to see and understand the reality away from prejudices and stereotypes.

Friday, 18 December 2015 10:10

The Hellenic Post in cooperation with the Israel Post decided the joint issue of a stamp with the same illustration, which will be officially released on the 9th of February 2016 simultaneously in Greece and Israel. The series entitled “Greece – Israel: Thessaloniki and Haifa Ports” is dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of Full Diplomatic Relations between the two countries and is accompanied by a relevant postmark.

In her message, the Ambassador of the State of Israel to Greece Mrs. Irit Ben-Abba, inter alia, pointed out: “This year the State of Israel and the Hellenic Republic are celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Full Diplomatic Relations. Bilateral ties date back thousands of years, as our two ancient nations had a great mutual influence on each other in our shared Eastern Mediterranean region… Today, Israel and Greece enjoy warm relations based on friendship and mutual strategic interests. Their wide-ranging cooperation in all fields in our shared region reflects our historic and cultural affinity and shared democratic values. I wish our countries and peoples many more years of friendly relations”.

On behalf of the Hellenic Post, Special Advisor Mr. Moses Constantinis stressed: “I am proud to have worked for the realization of this stamp which represents the close bonds between Greece and Israel. Moreover I am overwhelmed and deeply touched both as a representative of the Hellenic Post and as the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, which is the umbrella organization of the Greek Jewry. To me this stamp is a landmark which incorporates my love for philately, my love for Israel and my deep faith in the multitude of benefits that come out of the productive cooperation between Greece and Israel. I wish to thank the President and CEO of the Hellenic Post Mr. Kostis Melachrinos for his utmost contribution to this project, as well as the administration of the Israel Post and Ambassador Irit Ben-Abba for the excellent cooperation”.

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