Social services for Nazi victims have been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
Funds have been provided by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany for the Emergency Assistance Program for Nazi Victims at the direction of the United States District Court supervising the lawsuit In RE: Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation (Swiss Banks).

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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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ISRAEL ON FIRE, GREECE IN SOLIDARITY. THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF KIS Print E-mail
Friday, 25 November 2016 14:16

Haifa is burning and the mountains around Jerusalem are on fire too. Hundreds of people are injured and thousands are evacuating their homes.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and the all the Greek Jewry express their full support to the residents of Israel who were injured or were hit by the fires. We wish for the immediate restoration of the damages.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece congratulates the Greek Government on the immediate positive response to the request of the Israeli Prime Minister to Greece for assistance in order to put out the devastating fires widespread in Israel.  

We wish all the Greek pilots, the firefighters and the technicians of the Greek delegation good luck to their mission. We highly appreciate the courage and solidarity they demonstrate in dealing with this disaster and wish them to thrive always in strength and health.   

This tragic situation proves that the cooperation between Greece and Israel is not only based on common interests but also on strong bonds of friendship between the two peoples.

Athens, November 25, 2016

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

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WJC PRESIDENT’S OP-ED IN DIE ZEIT ON THE UN VOTE Print E-mail
Thursday, 20 October 2016 10:33

Under the title “An Affront” the Op-Ed of the WJC President Ronald S. Lauder was published on the German newspaper DIE ZEIT (issue of October 20, 2016). Here under we publish the English translation:

The United Nations cannot erase Jewish history.

But last week, UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization whose task it is to protect world heritage sites, tried to do just that.
UNESCO’s Executive Board adopted a text which completely ignores the Jewish link to Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount. Instead, it is referred to as “Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif and its surroundings.”

The square in front of the Western Wall, where thousands of Jews pray every day, is referred to as the “Al-Buraq Plaza”. The resolution also blames Israel, which it calls “the occupying power”, for a number of alleged “aggressions” in the Old City of Jerusalem and at other Islamic holy sites.

For the Jewish people, the Temple Mount is a sacred site where memory, tradition, and faith are sown in the very soil. It was King David who established Jerusalem as the first capital of the Jewish people three thousand years ago.
In other words, Temple Mount was already the holiest place of Judaism long before the advent of Christianity or Islam. To deny the Jewish link to this site is therefore akin to denying the Holocaust. It is an act of anti-Semitism.
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ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE NEW TERROR ATTACK IN JERUSALEM ON THE EVE OF YOM KIPPUR Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 October 2016 09:43

Another terror attack in Jerusalem –this time the victims were two people dead and five injured- perpetrates the circle of blood, fanaticism and hatred in the Middle East and undermines peace.

It is not a random coincidence that this repulsive criminal act took place just a few days before the great festivity of Judaism, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and while a positive climate has just started to be developed for the re-approaching and the re-opening of peace negotiations, as a result of the symbolic move of Palestinian Authority President M. Abbas to attend the funeral of Israeli leader and pioneer of Peace Shimon Peres.

This particular time was chosen by the terrorists to strike -once more- against the peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, by spreading fear and death among innocent people, unsuspected citizens who were standing at a railway station in Jerusalem.  

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, along with the Greek Jewry’s solidarity and condolences towards the Israeli people and the families of the victims, expresses the wish that logic and prudence prevail, in order to reopen the way to the accomplishment of the much-desired Peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, in honesty and determination, and stop the bloodshed of innocent people, victims of the ruthless terrorism of the extremists.

Athens, October 10, 2016

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

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GREEK JEWRY ADDRESSES LETTER OF PROTEST TO UNESCO OVER NEW VOTE ON JERUSALEM Print E-mail
Friday, 14 October 2016 12:48

In the aftermath of the new decision of the Executive Board of UNESCO, which ignores Jewish and Christian historical presence on the holy sites in Jerusalem, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece addressed the following letter of protest to the UNESCO Director General Mrs. Irina Bokova, as well as to the President of the Greek National Committee to UNESCO Mrs Ekaterini Tzitzikosta:

Honorable General Director Bokova,
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and all the Greek Jews strongly protest and express their repugnance and sorrow for the latest UNESCO decision that ignores the historical bonds of the Jews with the Western Wall on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, as well as the bonds of the Christians with
the Holy sites. This decision is an insult to the Jewish people and the Jews all over the world to whom this site represents a sacred religious birthplace.

The Western Wall, also called the Wailing Wall, is the only remaining part of the Temple of Solomon, which was destroyed for the first time in 586 BC by the Babylonians and for the second time in 70 AD by the Romans. It symbolizes the cradle of the Jewish faith and its undoubted connection with its identity and historic course. Since then the Jews all over the world we pray with our heads facing towards Jerusalem. This will never change regardless of your Organization’s shameful decision. History cannot be either distorted or manufactured.

The new decision of the Executive Board of UNESCO reveals the manipulated political expediencies that encourage intolerance and anti-Semitism and diverge all efforts for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

UNESCO should protect the city of Jerusalem as a holy place for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, instead of giving in to political pressure exercised by countries that aim at turning the Holy city from a place of affection and reconciliation to a place of hatred and bloodshed.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece asks for the revocation of this shameful decision that distorts world history.

Sincerely Yours,

The President DAVID SALTIEL

The Secretary General MOSES ELISAF

 

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THE GREEK JEWRY MOURNS THE LOSS OF SHIMON PERES Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 September 2016 12:50
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and the entire Greek Jewry join the mourning for the loss of the ninth President of the State of Israel and convey their deepest condolences to his family and the people of Israel.

Shimon Peres has been a great political and academic figure who has identified his name and activity with the history of the State of Israel for seven decades.
From the office of the President of Israel, as Prime Minister –a position which he was elected in three times- as well as from all public offices he hold, Shimon Peres worked for the security, the achievement of peace and the progress of Israel. He pioneered the Oslo agreement. His tireless work for peace was recognized at international level and in 1994 he was awarded with the Nobel Prize for Peace, together with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat.

“Shimon Peres’s bond with Greece has been special and has deep roots”, said the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece Mr. David Saltiel. As stressed in his condolences message: “Shimon Peres has been a friend of Greece and of the Greek Jewish Community. He grew up with his father’s memories of his passing through Greece when during 1941 Yitzhak Persky fought with the Jewish Brigade against the Nazis. In 2003 the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki proclaimed Shimon Peres an honorary member of the Community. Last June he visited Greece and the characteristic statement of the Greek President Pavlopoulos was that “Peres represents a source of inspiration for peace in the Middle East”.

Shimon Peres has also been an admirer of the Greek-Jewish cultural heritage. I am profoundly touched to recall the meeting that he had with the leadership of the Greek Jewry during his state visit to Greece in August 2012. I vividly remember his address to the Youth: “The scientists represent the true wealth of a country, thus, arm yourselves with knowledge and invest in research”. I quote these words as I believe they reflect his wisdom, his character and his innovative thought. Let those words be his legacy to the people of Israel and the entire world for the benefit of progress and development”.

Shimon Peres didn’t simply speak about peace. He worked throughout his whole life with persistence in order to accomplish it. He believed in turning the impossible into possible. He knew well that Israel could not survive depending either on military force, or on diplomacy or on economic power alone, but on the commitment and continuous development of all three parameters together.  

Shimon Peres carried on his shoulders for 70 years the visions and the hopes of an entire people and through his continuous participation in its fights, identified the history of the State of Israel with his own personal history which is a source of inspiration to future generations.

In 2005 Shimon Peres stated: “My vision is to have a State as old as the Ten Commandments and as new as the internet”.

Athens, September 28, 2016

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

 
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