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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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MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE GREEK MINISTRY OF EDUCATION, THE JEWISH MUSEUM OF GREECE AND YAD VASHEM Print E-mail
Wednesday, 01 February 2017 11:21

Τhe Memorandum of Understanding between the Greek Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs, the Jewish Museum of Greece and Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority was signed on January 26, 2017, ahead of the Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Memorandum was signed by the Greek Minister of Education, Research and Religious Affairs, Mr. Konstantinos Gavroglou and the President of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Museum in Greece, Mr. Samuel Matsas signed, with the presence of the Ambassador of Israel to Greece, Ms. Irit Ben-Abba and her Deputy Ms. Sawsan Hasson.

Source: Embassy of Israel

 
Decision 2334/23.12.16 of the UN’s Security Council Print E-mail
Friday, 13 January 2017 11:12

The following article by Victor Isaak Eliezer, on the Decision 2334/23.12.16 of the UN’s Security Council, was published on the Greek daily “Kathimerini”, on January 12, 2017  (printed and on line editions): 

Victor Isaak Eliezer*

KATHIMERINI, Jan. 12, 2017: The decision, which was by many simply interpreted as a condemnation of Israel for the settlements on the West Bank of the River Jordan and in Jerusalem, undermines all existing peace plans between Israelis and Palestinians. Why? Because it basically undermines decision 242/11/1967 of the UN’s Security Council, which clearly stated the right of all countries to live in peace "within secure and recognised borders" and called on Israel to abandon "occupied territories". Decision 242 does not include the phrase "from all occupied territories" nor the phrase "from the occupied territories" which fell under Israeli occupation during the six-day war in June 1967. The international community had since recognised the need for "Israeli secure and recognised borders", which had suffered the attack from 4 Arab armies and, for this reason, did not impose total withdrawal to its lines prior to 5th June 1967. Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian President, realised this, and based on this decision signed the peace treaty with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin; King Hussein of Jordan, who also realised this, signed a peace treaty with Yitzhak Rabin, and Yasser Arafat also realising it signed the agreements of Oslo, which foresee the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the West coast next to Israel, with secure borders.

Decision 2334/23.12.16 regards "all occupied territories" as "Palestinian territories", including even East Jerusalem. Of course, Israeli settlements beyond the agreed security line as mapped in the Oslo agreements and later in the "Road Map", constitute an obstacle to the promotion and advancement of negotiations for the solution "Two states for two nations." But from this point up to the establishment of East Jerusalem’s Jewish sector and the Wailing Wall (Western Wall) as Palestinian territory, the difference is enormous and the decision was rightfully condemned by both the Netanyahu government and the centrist and leftist opposition in Israel.

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ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE STATEMENTS OF THE IMAM OF GLAFKI – Apology of the Imam Print E-mail
Monday, 09 January 2017 11:45

 

A Muslim religious figure of Xanthi, Imam Erkan Azizoglou (of the village of Glafki) posted on his facebook account (December 4, 2016) hate anti-Semitic comments. The Imam wished for the fires that burst out in Israel not to be put out!  In response to the reaction caused by his statement and the comments posted on line (asking not to make parallels between the State and the people who live in it) the Imam debated that “All the Israelis are the same. They are all as a monster that is fed on blood”. With these hate comments, totally inappropriate for a religious leader, Erkan Azizoglou threatens peaceful coexistence among Greek citizens regardless of religion in this sensitive region. The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece is always in alert to fight against anti-Semitic rhetoric expressed by any part.  

  Athens December 19, 2016

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

 

Related:

 - The apology of Imam Azizoglou on the website of the Racist Crimes Watch (Jan. 7.2017): On January 7, 2017, Imam Azizoglou posted an apology on the website of the Racist Crimes Watch (of the NGO Greek Helsinki Monitor). The Imam notified that he erased his comments from his facebook account and apologized to those offended. The comment also reads: “The legitimate condemnation of the Israeli policy towards the Palestinians should not include elements that offend the majority of the population of the country based on its ethnic and religious identity”.

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Announcement for the terrorist attack in Istanbul on the 1st of January 2017 Print E-mail
Wednesday, 04 January 2017 10:32

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece sent the following letter to the Turkish ambassador in Greece, Mr. Yaşar Halit Çevik, regarding the terrorist attack in Istanbul; the letter was also communicated to the Jewish Community of Turkey:

Dear Mr. Ambassador,

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece firmly condemns the terrorist attack that took place in a nightclub in the center of Istanbul, with at least 39 people killed and 69 wounded, 15 foreigners among them, in the first hours of the New Year 2017.

The choice of both the place and time of the attack clearly demonstrates the profound hatred and paranoia of the ISIS terrorists who claimed responsibility for the attack.

We express our deepest condolences to the families of all the victims and the full support and solidarity of the Greek Jewry to the Turkish people who are struck once again by terrorism.

 

Athens, January 4, 2017

Central Board of Greek Communities in Greece
 
SALONICA – MOTHER OF LOVE AND PAIN Print E-mail
Wednesday, 04 January 2017 13:01

By Yvette Nahmia-Messinas, Jerusalem Post, January 2nd, 2017

Where should I start? I’ll start at the end. On Saturday we went to see the film “Ouzeri Tsitsanis” (Cloudy Sunday) by director Manousos Manousakis in the framework of the Jewish Film Festival at the Jerusalem Cinematheque. “Ouzeri” in Greek is the place where people drink ouzo and eat mezedes. Vassilis Tsitsanis was one of the most important figures in the formation of modern Greek music, a master bouzouki player and among the forces shaping the Rebetiko (urban Greek music) in Salonica before and during WWII. The screening hall was filled with known faces of Greek Jews, Greek music lovers, philhellenes and beyond.

The film was balanced, nuanced and rich, and succeeded in telling the story of the Greek Jews of Salonica, the “madre d’Israel,” from different perspectives. We saw the Sephardi Greek Jews, heard them speak in Greek and Ladino and sing songs in Judeo-Espagnol in their communal choir as well as get involved in the new socialist ideas. We were exposed to the foreign sounding names of the foods they ate, the synagogue they went to, the controversial rabbi they followed. We also saw the inner strife among them, of those who suggested not listening to the rabbi and his directives of going along with the Germans’ requests, and those who felt safer in complying with the Jewish community’s policy rather than straying away from it and going on their own.

We were shown Estrea, the young Sephardi Jewess (Christina Chila Fameli) who is active in the resistance by typewriting its messages in a well-hidden basement. Although she is issued false identity papers as a Greek Orthodox woman, and has the option to escape with her Greek Christian boyfriend Giorgos (Charis Fragkoulis) to Athens, Estrea opts to turn herself in as a Jew and get on the train to be with her family. Estrea knows that the train is headed for Poland, but doesn’t know its ultimate destination is Auschwitz, where 96% of Salonica’s Jews perished.

 

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