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LATEST NEWS

AMENDMENT VOTED ON THE REINSTATEMENT OF GREEK CITIZENSHIP TO DESCENDANTS OF GREEK DIASPORA JEWS – ANNOUNCEMENT OF KIS

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece welcomes the vote by the Greek Parliament of an amendment which permits to the descendants of deceased Greek Jewish citizens to have the right to obtain a Greek citizenship.

The amendment corrects a legal vacuum of the earlier relevant law of 2011, which gave the right to obtain Greek citizenship to the Greek Jews of the Diaspora, but only if they were alive themselves. With the specific amendment, it is now possible for the descendants of the deceased Greek Jews to reestablish ties with their country of origin, where their fathers or grandfathers had lived until the War and the Holocaust, or after that. 

At the beginning, we were surprised by the position of the leading opposition party in the Greek parliament, “Nea Demokratia”, not to vote “yes” but to vote “present” during the procedure, since we know that the party of “Nea Demokratia” has already expressed positive views about the specific matter and its leader has a generally positive attitude in matters which concern the Jews both in Greece and abroad.

The party of “Nea Demokratia” issued finally a Press Announcement on 18.3.2017, which explains that the “present” vote was registered by mistake and that the spokesman of the party in the Greek Parliament, Mr. Kefaloyiannis, had spoken in favor of the particular amendment during the discussion, citing his exact words in the minutes of the Parliamentary session.

In this context, we can conclude that the amendment in favor of granting the Greek citizenship to the descendants of the deceased Greek Jews who live abroad was voted by the vast majority of the Greek Parliament and we express our satisfaction for that.

Athens, March 20, 2017

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

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THE CENTRAL BOARD OF JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN GREECE STANDS BY THE US JEWS FOLLOWING OUTBURST OF ANTISEMITIC INCIDENTS

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, motivated by the vandalism of 170 graves in the Jewish cemetery of St. Louis, in the State of Missouri, on February 24th sent the following letter of solidarity to the Jewish Community of St. Louis, in relation to the anti-Semitic incidents affecting the US during the last days.

KISE had the same communication with Jewish organizations, as well as with prominent US Jewish personalities who made statements, issued press releases and published articles, on the rise of anti-Semitism in the US urging the US government and the new President Donald Trump to react with clarity and determination.

The Greek Jewry’s support to the unusual wave of anti-Semitic incidents in the US was welcomed by international Jewish organizations.  

Specifically the letter of KISE mentions:

“It is with great dismay and concern that we were informed about the vandal attack against the Jewish cemetery of St Louis and the recent anti-Semitic incidents in the USA.

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AT HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL IN GREECE, WJC PRESIDENT RONALD S. LAUDER SAYS: ‘INDIFFERENCE HAS NOT GONE AWAY’

WJC, Athens 30.1.2017: Ronald S. Lauder on Monday addressed an official Holocaust commemoration ceremony in the Greek capital Athens, and in recalling the tragedy that nearly destroyed the Jewish community in Greece, asked whether the world has really learnt the lessons of the Holocaust.
 
“What has been the world’s reaction to the genocides since 1945? In Cambodia: silence! In Rwanda: silence! In Darfur: silence! Christians are being slaughtered today throughout the Middle East and Africa, and the world is silent. Indifference has not gone away,” Lauder told the gathering. The slogan ‘Never Again’ is easy to say but it’s really meaningless, because it happens again and again. And unless we want our children and grandchildren dealing with the same questions, it is time for this silence to end, once and for all.”

“The Jewish community here suffered such a heart-breaking loss. Almost 90 percent of the thriving Jewish population in Greece was murdered in World War II. Mothers, fathers, children… so many children. But we should always remember that this was not just a tragedy for the Jewish people. It was a tragedy for Greece as well. Greece lost some of its best and most productive citizens when the Jewish community was destroyed. When the Nazis came here in 1941 everyone lost,” Lauder added.
 
Lauder also highlighted the resistance of many Greeks against the occupiers during World War II, mentioning the people of Zakynthos, who hid the island’s Jews from the Nazis, Greek-Orthodox Archbishop Damaskinos, who instructed church members to issue false identity cards to Jews, and the “many ordinary Greeks whose name we will never know: they all set an example for the entire world to follow.”

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MP GEORGIADIS’ APOLOGY TO THE GREEK JEWISH COMMUNITY Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 March 2017 12:14

The vice president of the main Opposition “New Democracy” party, MP Adonis Georgiadis posted on his facebook account on Jan. 27, 2017, (on the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day), an apology statement in which he unequivocally renounced his anti-Semitic behavior and statements adopted in the past, and apologized to the Greek Jewish Community.

Adonis Georgiadis’ facebook post (Jan. 27, 2017) reads:

“On the occasion of the Day of Remembrance for Holocaust victims, I wish to clarify my clear views on anti-Semitism, which is a key threat to the Jewish people and a blow to the values ​​of our democracy and of Western civilization. In the past I had coexisted with and tolerated the opinions of people who showed disrespect to my Jewish compatriots and for this reason I feel the need to apologize to the Jewish community. Even more I regret that I supported and promoted the offensive to Jews book of Kostas Plevris.

But in recent years I have learned a lot about the Jewish people, its history and the contribution of Greek Jews to our country and I have tried a lot and I am continuing to try to tell our fellow citizens about their contribution. I firmly believe that anti-Semitism does not and should not have a place in our democracy and in our culture. The Holocaust of the Jewish people is the greatest shame of our contemporary civilization and through their sacrifice democracy, anti-racism, and the belief in the equality and freedom of peoples was strengthened”.

 

 
HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM & EDUCATIONAL CENTER OF GREECE in THESSALONIKI: A World Monument Against Racism Print E-mail
Monday, 23 January 2017 11:15

Article in the daily “Kathimerini”, January 15, 2017, by Yiota Myrtsioti: A six storey circular building made of metal and glass will rise to the historic place where the end of the 55,000 Greek Jews of Thessaloniki started; the memorial building will change the skyline of the city's western entrance and the map of Europe Holocaust memorials and museums. After seven decades, the city of Thessaloniki restores the memory, recognizes its mistakes, opens its archives, studies, but above all apologizes for a piece of history that the city buried with its silence and under the foundations of the university campus. The city’s mayor, Yiannis Boutaris, has restored this oblivion three years ago in front of the monument erected in a corner of the university campus to remind that this was the place where the Sephardic Jews of the big community of Salonica were honoring their dead for 500 years. Yannis Boutaris, in his speech delivered at the moment, spoke of the undue delay of the city to break the silence and to begin to mention the gloomy moments of its history. It was one of the slow but steady steps toward the target he had set since he became mayor: that the institution he represents becomes an institution of memory with continuity in time. The culmination of this effort is the establishment of the Museum and Educational Center on the Holocaust in the area of the Old Railway Station, where the Jews of Thessaloniki started their final trip.

This was an idea of the president of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, David Saltiel. The mayor adopted this idea and, in order to promote it, he used its contacts around the world. The Municipality and the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki worked together, methodically, without fanfare, to implement this idea and now, almost three years later, with funding guaranteed, they are setting the project’s timelines.

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ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE ANTISEMITIC STATEMENTS OF THE REPORTER DIMOS VERYKIOS AT THE ALPHA TV CHANNEL Print E-mail
Monday, 16 January 2017 10:53

On Thursday, 12 January 2017, during the morning show of Alpha TV channel «Happy Day», presented by Stamatina Tsimtsili, the reporter Dimos Verykios, at a live connection with his broadcast from Alpha Radio, he included into his political and economic comment many conventional anti-Semitic stereotypes.

More precisely, Dimos Verykios, as part of his comment, he stated: "The world money is concentrated in three centers: they are actually dominating the planet. One center is the banks, the global banking system. Through this banking system, two main centers are ruling the game. One of these centers is the Jewish lobby, powerful, extremely powerful in America and elsewhere! In all big deals, one will meet a Jew! Or a mason!”.

These are absolutely unhistorical anti-Semitic views, which are usually expressed only by marginal and extreme right elements. The fact that these views were surprisingly broadcasted, even without any reaction, in one of the largest TV channels of our country, makes us very concerned. The claims of Mr. Verykios are simply provoking hate against Jews. We expect that he will realize his big mistake and apologize to the audience for the promotion of these unsubstantiated and false accusations, which do not inform at all the public but instead lead to misinformation and encourage anti-Semitism in Greece.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece will continue tirelessly to fight against anti-Semitism, racism and intolerance, a fight that, as it turns out, should be given every day.

 Athens, January 13th, 2017

CENTRAL BOARD OF JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN GREECE

 

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WJC PRESIDENT RONALD S. LAUDER INTERVIEWED IN “KATHIMERINI” Print E-mail
Thursday, 02 February 2017 11:22

Greece is a key player in the Mediterranean and the strengthening of ties with Israel on a political and military level is an important development given the rise of Islamic terrorism, according to Ronald Lauder, the president of World Jewish Congress, who visited Athens on the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

In an interview with Kathimerini’s Sunday’s edition, Lauder noted the rise of nationalism, and anti-Semitism which, he said, is not just a threat to minorities but to society at large. Lauder said the proliferation of far-right groups in Europe, including Golden Dawn in Greece which openly professes its hatred of Jews and Israel, has taken on alarming proportions. He also noted a rise in anti-Semitism among Muslim migrants in Europe, as well as among traditional European newspapers and even Britain’s Labour party.

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Greek Parliament President Voutsis visits the Knesset; signs declaration to combat anti-Semitism Print E-mail
Wednesday, 01 February 2017 13:21

The President of the Hellenic Parliament, Nikos Voutsis, visited the Knesset Wednesday as a guest of Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein. On Thursday, he will return to the Knesset to participate in a first-of-its-kind trilateral meeting with Speaker Edelstein and the president of Cyprus` House of Representatives, Demetris Syllouris. They will discuss various subjects which are connected to the future of the region.

After signing the Knesset guestbook and giving formal statements to the press, Voutsis held a work meeting at the Knesset Speaker`s office. MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin (Zionist Camp), who heads the Israel-Greece Parliamentary Friendship Group, also participated in the meeting.
During the meeting, the Greek parliament`s president signed a declaration which has already been signed by various parliamentary heads, making a commitment to battle anti-Semitism.

”This is a subject which we fight against firmly”, Voutsis noted. Voutsis met with members of the Knesset`s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and with Opposition Leader MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Camp).
Knesset Speaker Edelstein said, ”Israel and Greece are the successors of two magnificent cultures, and the two countries share mutual values of democracy. I was glad to hear that you [spoke extensively about] Holocaust memorial enterprises in Greece”.

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