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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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ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE PROMOTION OF THE CUSTOM OF THE BURNING OF JUDAS IN THE WEBSITE OF THE GREEK TOURISM ORGANIZATION Print E-mail
Monday, 09 May 2016 09:20

KIS addressed a letter of protest to the Greek Tourism National Organization asking for the removal from the Organization’s website of a reference to the custom of the burning of an effigy of Judas (practiced during Christian Easter holidays), as a folkloristic attraction. On the issue KIS issued the following announcement:

Among the various traditions in Greece during the Easter holidays, the custom of the “burning of Judas” is still attested in many different areas on Holy Saturday. This custom perpetuates anti-Semitic feelings and it is characteristic that in other European countries it has almost vanished.

For our part, as the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, we have repeatedly turned to the authorities, demanding that, in our country too, this custom be abolished. It is worth to mention that, with its synodical circulars of the years 1891, 1910 and 1918, the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church has explicitly demanded that this custom be abolished.

Thus, we were greatly surprised when we found out that the anti-Semitic tradition of “the burning of Judas” is currently being displayed by the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) in its official website, which aims at promoting Greek culture and attracting foreign visitors. Moreover, the relevant article from the GNTO website was recently distributed in a newsletter by the Embassy of Greece in Washington, DC. We strongly believe that this custom does not only offend the Jewish community in Greece but also casts discredit on the Greek society as a whole.                                                    

For these reasons, we have written to the President of the GNTO, with further notification to the Deputy Minister of Tourism and the Greek Emabassy in Washington, asking for the immediate withdrawal of any material regarding this custom from the official website of the organization. 

Athens, May 6, 2016

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

 

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EUROPE: DO THE RIGHT THING ON HEZBOLLAH Print E-mail
Tuesday, 10 May 2016 10:15

- Article by David Harris, CEO of the AJC, published on The World Post  (April 27, 2016) and on the Greek Huffington Post (May 9, 2016), on the EU policy on Hezbollah.

Nearly three years ago, the European Union finally overcame its longstanding resistance and addressed the issue of adding Hezbollah to its terrorism list.

The good news is that the 28 member states, prompted by the determination of Bulgaria, which experienced a deadly Hezbollah attack the year before, and Cyprus, which arrested a Hezbollah operative scouting out sites, took action.

The bad news is that the EU opted to bifurcate Hezbollah and place the "military wing" on the terrorism list, while leaving its "political wing" off it.

If ever there was a distinction without a difference, this was it. Don't take my word for it. None other than Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's Lebanon-based chief, said as much, stressing that no one could divide his organization.

Mocking the EU's decision, Nasrallah asserted: "A government [of Lebanon] without Hezbollah will never be formed. Just as a joke, I propose that our ministers in the next government be from the military wing of Hezbollah."

It's not often that I agree with Nasrallah, but on this occasion -give him his due - he was right about the EU illusion that there are two Hezbollahs.

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ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE RHETORIC OF HATE LAUNCHED BY A RELIGIOUS REPRESENTATIVE IN XANTHI Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 March 2016 08:51

We were informed by a recent press article of the newspaper “Parapolitica” (March 19, 2016) that Ahmet Mete, a religious figure in Xanthi, during his speech delivered in August 2014, at the village of Glafki, stated inter alia: “Curse against Israel! For these are the ones turned into soap by the Germans. But Hitler was right when he said: now you will be angry with me but one day I will be proved right about the Jews. Now our curse goes upon them, and our prayers upon our brothers”. 

A ministrant of a religious minority, the muslim minority, instead of being a preacher of religious peace, tolerance and reconciliation, becomes a preacher of hatred. It is not his right to do so. Even if he does not feel the moral obligation to teach reconciliation among people, he certainly does not have the right to preach hatred.

It is well known that anti-Semitism –that often reaches the point of praising Nazism and Hitler- flourishes in Islamist regimes. Nevertheless, the religious figure of Xanthi should know that such attitude is not tolerated in Greece. And if he does not know that himself, we–as a society and as a state- should mind letting him know.

On our end, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, will always be in alert against any case of anti-Semitic rhetoric regardless of origins.

Athens, March 28, 2016

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

 
GREEK PARLIAMENT UNVEILS MONUMENT TO LAWMAKERS KILLED IN HOLOCAUST Print E-mail
Tuesday, 26 April 2016 07:42

ATHENS (JTA) — The Greek Parliament has erected a monument to eight Greek Jewish lawmakers who were killed by the Nazis during the Second World War.

The white marble tablet engraved with the eight names was unveiled on Wednesday by Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament Nikos Voutsis.

Six of the parliament members were among the tens of thousands of Greek Jews who were murdered in Auschwitz, while two others were killed fighting with the Greek resistance. Some 60,000 Greek Jews died in the Holocaust, according to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem.

Voutsis apologized for the decades-long delay in commemorating the Jewish parliament members.

“For 75 years this has been on the conscience of this house. Seventy-five is too long for us to honor our colleagues who were killed by the Nazis,” Voutsis said at the ceremony, which was attended by representatives of all the Greek political parties except the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn.

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PRESS RELEASE FOR THE ATTACKS IN BRUSSELS - Europe in confrontation with Islamist Terror Print E-mail
Wednesday, 23 March 2016 08:08

Today, the 22nd of March 2016, Europe is once more devastated by the deadly attacks at the Brussels airport and metro station, only four months after the fatal attacks at the heart of Paris that caused the loss of lives of more than 130 innocent people, and as tragic sequence of the hit in Istanbul just three days ago. The circle of bloodshed seems endless.

Present day terrorism has a name and an ideology: It is the extreme political Isalm, the Jihadist Islamist movement. Europe has to rise against this enemy with tenacity and determination. Nevertheless, we must not draw parallels between Islamist murderers and the peaceful Muslims who live and work in Europe.

One of the painful political consequences of Islamist terrorism in Europe is that it encourages the racist and neo-Nazi extreme right. The response to Islamophobia cannot ever be neo-Nazism.

We, the Jewish people, have the tragic historical privilege to understand this better that any other human being. Europe must give a democratic response to the Islamist challenge and safeguard the safety of all its citizens.

Athens, March 22, 2016

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

 

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