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LATEST NEWS

RESTORATION OF THE VANDALIZED HOLOCAUST MONUMENT OF KAVALA DUE TO PROMPT REACTION OF THE MUNICIPALITY AND THE LOCAL SOCIETY

Local dignitaries, prominent figures, and many citizens of Kavala, as well as the City Council, co-signed an on line petition, expressing the local’s society immediate and strong reaction in condemning the vandal attack against the Holocaust monument of Kavala.

It is worth emphasizing that within only a few days the Municipality of Kavala kept the promise of Mayor Ms. Dimitra Tsanaka for the restoration of the monument at the expense and responsibility of the municipality. The Memorial stands again in its symbolic location, commemorating the Jews of Kavala. The Central Board of the Jewish Communities in Greece, in a letter to the Mayor of Kavala, expressed the satisfaction of the Greek Jewry, making, among others, the following statement:

«The reaction of the Municipality of Kavala, both with the press release which condemned the vandalism, and with the immediate restoration of the Monument’s substantial damages, demonstrates actively your high sense of responsibility and your sensitivity against phenomena of anti-Semitism and racism. Your symbolic visit to the Memorial right after the act of vandalism passes the message that such phenomena which harm the image of the city will not be tolerated».

* SIGN THE PETITION HERE
(465 signatures as of April 12, 2017)

RELEVANT:
- On KIS website




 
ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE TERROR ATTACKS AGAINST COPTIC CHURCHES IN EGYPT

This time, the Islamic State has chosen Sunday, April 9, 2017, Palm Sunday, to strike the Egyptian Coptic Christians. At least 44 people were killed and more than 128 were injured in suicide bombers attack against two Coptic Orthodox churches during the mass. At least 27 people were killed and 78 injured in the first bombing attack that occurred on the St. George church in the Nile Delta city of Tanta, one hundred kilometers north of Cairo; the second attack, with 17 people dead and 48 wounded, occurred a few hours later on St. Mark’s cathedral in Alexandria. 

Those two heinous attacks of brutal violence and terrorism, which even surpass the very limits of gruesome terrorist blindness, clearly targeted Egyptian Christians.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece condemns strongly and unequivocally these atrocious murderous acts, it stands by the side of all Christians and of all the people of Egypt and expresses its warmest condolences to the Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa, His Beatitude Theodoros II, and to the families who lost their beloved ones in the Holy Week.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece hopes that this time the whole democratic Europe will not remain silent and indifferent towards the steady effort to exterminate and uproot Christianity from its cradle.

Athens, April 10, 2017

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

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ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE TERRORIST ATTACK IN STOCKHOLM

The terrorist truck attack that occurred Friday, April 7, 2017 in Stockholm is to be added to the list of heinous terrorist attacks affecting Europe, and make us think hard about both the outbreak of blind terrorism, and the role of mimicry in organizing these horrific acts. The Stockholm attack mimics the operational manner of attacks in Jerusalem, Nice, Berlin and London. The attack that occurred on a shopping street in the heart of Stockholm killed four people and injured about 15 more, nine of whom are in critical condition.

Europe has to remain united to counter terrorism, but without succumbing to terror. The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, representing the Greek Jewry, unequivocally condemns terrorism, stands by the Swedish government in the fight against terrorism, expresses its warmest condolences to the families of the victims and wishes wholeheartedly quick recovery to the wounded.

 

Athens, April 10, 2017

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

 
KIS ANNOUNCEMENT FOR SWASTIKAS GRAFFITI ON THE SYNAGOGUE OF IOANNINA - OFFICIAL GREEK REACTIONS Print E-mail
Tuesday, 13 September 2016 07:17

On September 12, 2016, the exterior of the Synagogue of Ioannina was found by local Jewish Community members desecrated with swastikas graffiti. The authorities were notified. The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece issued the following announcement:

"Vandal racists defaced with swastikas the exterior of the surrounding wall of the historic Synagogue of Ioannina, situated in the old walled city, the Kastro (Castle). Vandals drew swastikas also in some houses of the surrounding area.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expressed the Greek Jewry’s repudiation for this hideous act and urged the competent authorities to work for the arrest of the perpetrators as well as for the adequate protection of the Synagogue so as to contain such incidents that stain the image of the city of Ioannina".  

The reaction of the Greek authorities was expressed in a series of condemnation statements, issued on September 13, 2016, by the Mayor of Ioannina Thomas Begas, the governing party of SYRIZA, and the New Democracy opposition party.

 
WJC REPRESENTATIVES VISIT ATHENS Print E-mail
Thursday, 08 September 2016 12:02

WJC Press Release, September 6, 2016, ATHENS:  World Jewish Congress (WJC) CEO Robert Singer and the leadership of the Greek Jewish community held a series of meetings with senior Greek government officials, including Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, Education Minister Nikos Filis, Minister of Public Order Nikos Toskas, opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the head of the Orthodox Church in Greece Archbishop Ieronymos II and others.

Singer emphasized the good relations between Greece and Israel and raised a number of issues, including the threat posed by the extreme-right Golden Dawn party, the security of the Greek Jewish community, and anti-Semitic statements made by Greek Orthodox church officials recently. 

Robert Singer said: “Archbishop Ieronymos reassured us that the Greek Orthodox Church does not agree with these statements and that he is open to intensify the interfaith dialogue with the World Jewish Congress.”

Singer said that although there had been few violent incidents against Jews and Jewish sites in Greece in recent months, anti-Semitic stereotypes were still widespread in Greek society. He welcomed initiatives undertaken by the government to teach about the Holocaust in public and private schools in Greece. 

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ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE MURDER OF THE CATHOLIC PRIEST IN FRANCE Print E-mail
Thursday, 28 July 2016 07:45

Europe was confronted once again this week with the face of terrorism. It was the turn of Germany and France this time, which now constitutes the most common place of action for radical Islamists in Europe. This last attack took place in Normandy, where the terrorists chose as their target a place of prayer and worship. There, they brutally killed the 86-year-old Jacques Hamel, priest of the small Catholic community of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, close to Rouen.

The meaning of this recent attack is self-evident. The two terrorists of the Islamic State invaded a holy place and violated the right to prayer and hope. They impose their hatred and try to eradicate the feelings of love and brotherhood among people.

We must not respond to the hatred of the fanatics with hate. “The Catholic Church cannot take weapons other than those of prayer and brotherhood among men”, said Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen. Indeed, these are the true weapons of all religions.  

The attack against the believers in Rouen is an attack not only against the Catholics, but against every believer and every religion. The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece stands next to the Christian Community of France and the French society. We therefore express our full sympathy and grief and we strongly condemn these hideous actions. With the only weapons that we have in our hands, our prayers and faith, we will continuously fight for religious freedom, love and fraternity among people, so as not to let these high values be defeated by the hatred and violence of the Islamic terrorism.

 Athens, July 28, 2016

 CENTRAL BOARD OF JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN GREECE

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GREEK JEWS CONDEMN ATTACKS AGAINST CHRISTIAN CHURCHES IN GREECE – KIS LETTER TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF ATHENS Print E-mail
Wednesday, 10 August 2016 12:47

With regard to a series of attacks against Christian churches and following the  arson attack on the Petraki Church in Athens, which also houses the offices of the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece strongly condemned this act of vandalism. In a letter to His Holiness the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Ieronymos, the Board expressed the Greek Jewry’s solidarity. The letter states the following:


Your Holiness,

It is with dismay that we have been observing in the past days the violent attacks against Christian churches in Greece. The attack on the offices of the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church, in the Petraki Monastery, is the most recent event in this sad chain of violent acts. Our reaction to these events must be united and firm: We must condemn violence and safeguard all people’s right to worship.

 

We, the Greek Jews, know very well what vandalism of a house of prayer means to a worshiper. We have many times experienced this painful feeling. In a time when religion is constantly targeted, we have the moral obligation to defend with all our strength the right to faith. Hatred and intolerance have no place in a society that means to forge the respect of human rights.

Your Holiness,

 

We share your rightful sorrow for the desecration of holy Christian sites, as such actions are an insult to the core values of our civilization. 

Athens August 9, 2016

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

The President Moses Constantinis

The Secretary General Marcel Solomon

 

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ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE CONVICTION OF GREEK JOURNALIST STRATIS BALASKAS Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 July 2016 12:08

The relation and the boundary line between freedom of speech and expression on one hand and defamation on the other provokes always great discussion. Recently Stratis Balaskas, a Greek journalist, was convicted for defamation after characterizing a fellow citizen, who is also an educator and director of a public High School, as “neo-Nazi”. Specifically, the reporter was convicted for publishing libels. The case was brought in front of the Court of Appeals, where the conviction was reaffirmed. The plaintiff, who denied any connection with such ideas and/or organizations, has published in the past several articles in websites and blogs (using also his account at the “Hellenic School Network” www.sch.gr, a web platform of the Ministry of Education that connects educators and schools around Greece) where he argues in favor of the “Aryan race” and calls all the nationalists of the country –and especially the teachers and the parents- to unite in order to fight for the preservation of “racial purity” and spread the truth about the Jews among others. The Court decided that the characterization “neo-Nazi” is defamatory and convicted the defendant to three months jail time. Finally, the case will be considered again by the Supreme Court.

Following articles in the Greek press about this case, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece issued the following announcement in order to support Mr. Balaska’s claim for justice:

Every well-ordered society has its principles that define what is right and wrong, while the fundamental right of the freedom of speech constitutes the cornerstone every democracy. With these thoughts in mind, we worry about the conviction of the reporter Stratis Balaskas by the Court of Appeals. Mr. Balaskas, according to a press article, was convicted for defamation through the medium of the Press, after calling, in one of his articles, as “national-socialist and neo-Nazi” the Director of a local High School of Lesbos.

Therefore, we deem it appropriate to make some relevant observations: Firstly, to distinguish between the notion of National-Socialism and the notion of Nazism is historically totally incorrect, let alone to consider that the first one implies a mildest characterization than the second. According to the press article, the convicted Mr. Balaskas had rightly denounced the extreme beliefs of the plaintiff, criticizing in that way the work of a public professor and considering that the social role of the plaintiff is not consistent with the expression of extreme nationalist speech. 

Moreover, it is a really discouraging fact that a professor expresses this kind of extreme thoughts without any consequences. A teacher has no right to become a preacher of intolerance. Ideas such as extreme nationalism, fanaticism and anti-Semitism have no place in students’ education. 

We consider it our duty to stand by Mr. Balaskas and support his fight for justice, while our faith to the judiciary system remains strong.

Finally, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece will always condemn any expression of hate speech and any intolerant behavior.  

Athens, July 14, 2016

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

 
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