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MITSOTAKIS MEETS WITH AJC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR HARRIS

ATHENS -- Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met οn Tuesday morning with the Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), David Harris, at the Maximos Mansion.

According to government sources, they discussed developments in the wider region with a focus on the Eastern Mediterranean. There was particular emphasis on Greece's contribution to preserving regional stability and promoting growth through mutually beneficial alliances with countries in the region that share the same principles and beliefs.

The same sources noted that the close cooperation of the AJC with the Greek community in the USA was confirmed during the discussion with Harris, as well as the excellent level of bilateral relations between Greece and the USA, which are constantly developing and expanding.

The importance of the trilateral cooperation between Greece - Cyprus - Israel and the 3 + 1 scheme with the participation of the USA was also underlined, while ways to further strengthen the relevant actions were examined.

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Shakespeare or Chekhov in the Middle East - Article by Victor Isaak Eliezer
 Published in the Greek daily “TO VIMA” June 6, 2021

“If the Arabs put their weapons down, then there will be no war- if the Israelis put their weapons down, then there will be no Israel”. This saying is attributed to Golda Meir, Israel’s first female Prime Minister, when the Jewish state was surrounded by the Arab states that pursued its destruction, with a series of wars against it, since the first day of its independence, on May 14th 1948.

Unfortunately, the same phrase continues to be relevant in 2021. It could be seen as a communication ploy by the Israelis in order to gain the sympathy of the public. But let us see if this applies in the field of the long-running confrontation, which today focuses on the conflict between Israel and Hamas on its southern border and with Hezbollah and Syria in the north.

If Hamas was to abandon the attrition war against Israel, does anyone doubt that the blockade of the Gaza Strip would have been lifted the very next day? Israel does not have any territorial claims over this strip of land, on the contrary Israel pulled out in 2005, hoping that the Palestinian Authority would have been able to take control of the region and isolate the Islamic movements of Hamas and Jihad. The disarmament of Gaza would be a breath of fresh air for its afflicted population, a new page of growth and prosperity, a new road that would eventually lead to its union with the West Bank of the Jordan River, and in the establishment of a Palestinian state next to the State of Israel with secure borders. Free distribution and movement of people and goods, investments and improvement of the living standards, the end of the bloodshed – this is what the disarmament of Gaza would mean.

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LAST GREEK JEWISH SURVIVOR OF AUSCHWITZ DIED
Isaac Mizan, the last Holocaust survivor from the (former) Jewish community of Arta in northwest Greece and one of the last survivors alive, died at the age of 94. Mizan was born in 1927 in Arta, where he lived until 1961. He was the last of six children of the family of Joseph and Anetta Mizan.In March 1944 he was arrested by the Nazis, along with 351 other Arta Jews. They were transferred to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp and then to Bergen-Belzen.

He returned to Greece and Arta in August 1945. Of the twelve members of the Mizan family who were forced on the death voyage to Auschwitz, only three returned.

“His last wish, before he passed away, was to return to his birthplace, where the house where he and his family were taken from on March 24, 1944, is still preserved,” Dimitris Vlachopanos, who wrote Mizan’s biography, said.

He was the last Jew of Arta to leave his hometown at the age of 35 for Athens, but his love for his city remained unquenchable to the end.

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US STATE SECRETARY POMPEO VISITS THE JEWISH MUSEUM OF THESSALONIKI Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 September 2020 10:55
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during his visit to Greece, along with his wife Susan and members of his delegation to Greece paid a visit to the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki on Monday September 28, 2020, accompanied by US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt and US General Consul in Thessaloniki Elizabeth Lee. The museum was closed to the public for the Yom Kippur holiday.

Pompeo was received by the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) and of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki David Saltiel, and was given a tour of the premises.

KIS President David Saltiel, in his statement of September 29, 2020, stressed the highlights of his meeting with the US Secretary of State: “I am deeply honoured that US Secretary Pompeo, amid a highly important agenda in Greece, and his wife Susan, paid tribute to the Jewish Holocaust victims, in the solemn spirit of Yom Kippur, during their visit at the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki. Mike Pompeo’s interest in the Greek Jewish heritage at large, and in the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki that lost the 96% of its population in particular, gives us strength to continue our work. We are grateful for the expression of his support for the Holocaust Museum project and his motivational message for the speedy completion of this project”.

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GREEK PRESIDENT SAKELLAROPOULOU READS LAST LETTERS OF HOLOCAUST VICTIMS ALOUD AT CULTURAL FESTIVAL Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 September 2020 08:16
“Do not forget me…” Neama Cazes wrote on 8 April 1943 from the ghetto of German Nazi-occupied Greek city of Thessaloniki to her children, Maurice and Berto, who had escaped to Italian-occupied Athens. 

These words are also the title of the book by Leon Saltiel, a historian of the Holocaust in Greece who currently serves as the Representative to the UN in Geneva and UNESCO of the World Jewish Congress, and its Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism. In his book, Saltiel published some 50 letters sent by three Jewish mothers from within the ghetto of Thessaloniki to their sons, who were hiding in Athens during the Second World War, some weeks or days before their deportation and subsequent death in Auschwitz.  

Greek Republic President Katerina Sakellaropoulou - the first woman to occupy this post- will read three letters written by Cazes in contribution to this year’s autumn Dimitria festival, the leading cultural institution of Thessaloniki. The festival began online on 28 September. The reading of the letters will be hosted by the city of Thessaloniki with the support of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki and the German Consulate.  

The letters were written shortly before and during the deportations of the Jews of Thessaloniki and describe the climate of uncertainty, panic and anxiety that existed not only to Neama herself but to the Jewish community of Thessaloniki as well, shortly before the first train left Thessaloniki carrying 2,400 people to Auschwitz-Birkenau on 15 March 1943. The theme of this year’s festival is “distances,” both literally and figuratively, as the conference was forced to be virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic. Artists and other notable participants from Greece and abroad will present new artistic trends and highlighting the historic and cultural heritage of Thessaloniki during the festival.  

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AGHIA SOPHIA, A MUSEUM WHICH IS UNITING INSTEAD OF DIVIDING Print E-mail
Monday, 13 July 2020 09:11
 By Victor Isaak Eliezer*                         

Daily "TA NEA", July 11, 2020: The temple or Museum of "Aghia Sophia" in Istanbul, is maybe one of the unique religious monuments which are uniting instead of dividing the worshippers of two different monotheistic religions.  As a temple, during many centuries, it symbolized the unity of the Orthodox Christianity and the wealth of the Byzantine civilization, till the fall of Constantinople by the Ottomans. Then it was transformed into a mosque. The founder of the modern Turkish state, Kemal Ataturk, converted "Aghia Sophia" into a Museum related to both Christianism and Islam. A Museum of world cultural heritage which is visited and admired by millions of visitors, independently of their race, skin color or religion. I fully understand and share, though, the awe which overwhelms the Christian Orthodox people as this Church has been the birthplace of Orthodoxy and marked faithfully the rightful struggle of the Greeks for their freedom from the Ottoman enslavement that led to their independence and to the creation of the modern Hellenic state. 

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CERVANTES INSTITUTE AND JEWISH COMMUNITY OF THESSALONIKI SIGN AGREEMENT TO PROMOTE SEPHARDIC HERITAGE Print E-mail
Friday, 31 July 2020 09:34
The Cervantes Institute and the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki signed an agreement on Tuesday allowing the institute to establish a branch in the Greek city, as part of the institute's efforts to promote and recognize the Sephardic community’s Spanish roots and revitalize the community’s historical use of Judeo-Spanish or Ladino.  

In attendance at the special signing ceremony was President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and WJC Vice President David Saltiel, Cervantes Institute Athens Director Cristina Conde de Beroldinge, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Arancha González Laya, Spanish Ambassador to Greece Enrique Viguera, and Ambassador of Greece to Spain Ioannis Tzovas-Mourouzis, among others.    

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THESSALONIKI HOLOCAUST MUSEUM 'AN EXTREMELY IMPORTANT INITIATIVE FOR GREECE', SAYS US AMBASSADOR PYATT Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 July 2020 12:14
US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt on Thursday said that the plan to build the Holocaust Museum in Thessaloniki is an extremely important initiative for Greece, considering the key role that the Jewish community has played in the city's history.

The ambassador was speaking at the Jewish Museum in Thessaloniki, where he was briefed on the construction work's progress by David Saltiel, the president of both the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and the city's Jewish community, and the president of the Board of Directors of the Thessaloniki Holocaust Museum Foundation former mayor George Boutaris. The US Consul General in Thessaloniki Gregory Pfleger was also present at the meeting.

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