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GIVE GREECE’S NEW LEADER A CHANCE
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the right-of-center Greek prime minister in office for four weeks after decisively winning a national election, deserves the opportunity to govern before being judged. Mr. Tsimitakis, a supporter of Mr. Mitsotakis’s political rival, former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, did not give him that opportunity. 

The Mitsotakis administration faces daunting challenges, including attracting foreign investment, reducing unemployment and grappling with difficult regional issues. These matters cannot be solved instantaneously. All have plagued previous governments.

Moreover, Mr. Tsimitakis levels a disingenuous charge of nepotism against Mr. Mitsotakis. His nephew Kostas Bakoyannis was elected mayor of Athens by the city’s residents a month before Mr. Mitsotakis’s electoral victory. Also, Mr. Tsimitakis refers to the Holocaust-denying past of Makis Voridis, the minister of agriculture, but doesn’t note that he apologized twice to the Jewish community and that a page has been turned.

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MAKIS VORIDIS VISITED THE JEWISH MUSEUM OF GREECE AND STRESSED THE PRIORITY OF FIGHTING ANTISEMITISM

Rural Development and Foods Minister Makis Voridis paid a visit to the Jewish Museum of Greece on Monday, where he was given a tour by the museum director Zanet Battinou. In statements afterward, he once again expressed his opposition to all forms of hate speech and said that the fight against the "noxious phenomenon of antisemitism" was a priority, while encouraging people to visit the museum, which he described as "excellent".

Voridis was the first minister in the government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis to visit the museum, where he was greeted as a "friend of the Jewish people and the Jewish community in Greece" by the General Secretary of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) Viktor Eliezer.

The minister said his presence signaled the support of the Greek state in highlighting the history and long presence of the Greek Jews in the country since ancient times.

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AJC CONGRATULATES ARCHBISHOP ELPIDOPHOROS, NEW LEADER OF AMERICAN GREEK ORTHODOXY
 

AJC offers its warmest wishes to His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, who begins his tenure as leader of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the religious fountainhead of America’s Greek Orthodox faithful and the spiritual inspiration for Greek Americans. The Enthronement of Archbishop Elpidophoros was celebrated on Saturday at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York.

“AJC and the Jewish people join with the Hellenic-American community in celebrating this auspicious moment in the Archdiocese of America’s history,” AJC CEO David Harris said. “We look forward to working with Archbishop Elpidophoros to continue and build upon the decades-long special relationship that AJC and the Archdiocese have shared.”

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ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE ATTACK AT A SYNAGOGUE IN CALIFORNIA Print E-mail
Tuesday, 30 April 2019 11:57
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expresses the sorrow and the concern of the Greek Jewry for the recent attack against a Synagogue near San Diego, in California, during a Passover service, that costed the life of Lori Gilbert-Kaye and resulted into injuring three more people, amongst whom a child.

Once more, only a few months after the deadly attack against a Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Jews become an easy target while praying at religious services. As the similar tragedies in Christchurch and in Sri Lanka demonstrate, religious fanaticism, the escalation of incidents of racial violence, the rise of the Nazi ideologies for Aryan supremacy, as well as hatred, have no limits, either religious or geographic, and send yet another alarming signal. This is also manifested in the hate messages, the antisemitic stereotypes and the conspiracy rhetoric that were found in the computer of the alleged perpetrator.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expresses its sympathy to the family of the victim and the local Jewish Community and wishes a speedy recovery to the injured.

Athens, April 30, 2019

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

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RACIST VIOLENCE REPORT FOR 2018 - The antisemitic attacks Print E-mail
Wednesday, 24 April 2019 07:25

Athens, 19.4.2019- The Racist Violence Recording Network (RVRN) presented yesterday April 18, 2019,  their annual report, which analyses findings of racist violence and hate crime across Greece in 2018, recorded by the 46 organizations participating in the Network. From January to December 2018, the RVRN documented, through interviews with victims, 117 incidents of racist violence, with more than 130 victimsIn 74 incidents the victims were migrants or refugees on grounds of ethnic origin, religion, colour, associations of third country nationals, human rights defenders due to their connection with refugees and migrants, as well as a memorial to the victims of shipwrecks. In six (6) incidents, Greek citizens were targeted due to their colour, foreign or ethnic origin. In nine (9) incidents, the targets were Jewish sacred or symbolic places and the Jewish community and in one (1) incident the target was a Greek citizen due to educational activity against anti-Semitism or perceived religion. In 27 incidents the targets were LGBTQI+ persons, including five (5) refugees, asylum-seekers and EU citizens. In 59 incidents more than one victim was targeted, whereas in 63 incidents the assault was committed by a group of at least two people. 

For more information see here the site of the RVRN. See here the full report in pdf.

Excerpt from the report (p. 19) on antisemitism: In 2018, the RVRN recorded 9 anti-Semitic attacks. In particular, there were 6 incidents of desecration of Holocaust memorials in Athens and Thessaloniki, 2 incidents of desecration of the Jewish cemetery in Nikaia and Trikala as well as 1 incident of vandalism of the synagogue in Volos. In these incidents the perpetrators drew Nazi symbols or words and slogans referring to the Holocaust, threatening the Jewish community as a whole. Additionally, there was an incident against a teacher, who is being harassed severely due to his educational activity against anti-Semitism.

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THE SPECIAL ENVOY ON COMBATTING ANTI-SEMITISM TO THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH Print E-mail
Thursday, 18 April 2019 09:26
A meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew had the Special Envoy on Combatting Anti-Semitism, Dr. Efstathios Lianos Liantis, in view of the visit of the Primate of Orthodoxy to the Auschwitz concentration camp, in order to lead the March of the Living, on May 2nd, 2019.

The Ecumenical Patriarch blessed the mission of removing every anti-Semitic stereotype and highlighted the need for co-operation between the actors of Christianity and Judaism, which the Ecumenical Throne has been realizing throughout its ministry through interreligious dialogue and many other initiatives of joint action. 

He also stressed that he was willing to take coordinating action in the Christian world in order to eliminate the social pathogenesis of anti-Semitism and to preserve the commitment to fight any negative prejudice and persecution in the name of religion. 
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THE ATHENS JEWISH COMMUNITY CELEBRATED PESSACH AT THE GREEK EDUCATION MINISTRY IN ATHENS Print E-mail
Monday, 22 April 2019 11:02

On the occasion of the Jewish festivity of Passover, the Jewish Community of Athens organized, the traditional Seder of Pessach, on Saturday April 20, 2019, at the events’ hall of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs. 

The leadership of the Ministry that kindly offered the venue, was represented by the Minister of Education Mr. Kostas Gavroglou and the Secretary General for Religious Affairs Mr. George Kalantzis. The Seder was also attended by Archimandrite Dionysios, representative of the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Ieronymos. Approximately 350 members of the Athens Jewish Community, under the guidance of the Rabbi of Athens Gabriel Negrin, read and recited the Haggadah, the narration of the Exodus from Egypt, which is linked to the festivity of Pessach. 

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“Never Again’ March in Thessaloniki marked anniversary of first deportation to Auschwitz Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 March 2019 10:19

THE TIMES OF ISRAEL, March 18, 2019, by Vassilis Kyriakoulis: Two thousand people held a silent march in Thessaloniki, marking the anniversary of the departure in 1943 of the first train taking members of its Jewish community to Auschwitz. Participants held white balloons bearing the message “Never Again.” They gathered at the city’s old railway station where that train pulled out on March 15, 1943. Among those present for the 76th anniversary commemoration was Jurgen Haus, grandson of a German soldier, who expressed his “deep regret” for the actions of his Nazi forebears. “I am here to break the silence… I love Israel, I cannot remain silent in the face of antisemitism,” he said in a speech. 

Holocaust survivors Heinz Kounio and Achileas Koukovinos were honoured during the commemorations. Thessaloniki had a population of more than 50,000 Jews before World War II, some 46,000 of whom were deported and killed in German Nazi death camps. 

Before the deportations started, the community in the city, which was composed mainly of Sephardic Jews chased out of Spain in 1492, had developed to the point where it earned the nickname the “Jerusalem of the Balkans.”

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