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PRESS RELEASE



GREEK JEWS CONDEMN ATTACKS AGAINST CHRISTIAN CHURCHES IN GREECE – KIS LETTER TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF ATHENS Print E-mail
Wednesday, 10 August 2016 12:54

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 MURDER OF THE CATHOLIC PRIEST IN FRANCE Print E-mail
Thursday, 28 July 2016 08:25

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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ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE PEW SURVEY ON EUROPEAN FEARS RELEVANT TO REFUGEE INFLUX – GREECE’S SCORES Print E-mail
Wednesday, 20 July 2016 11:00

For the past several years Europe goes through an ongoing crisis. Economic destabilization has inter alia altered to a great extent the nature of relations amongst European citizens. Tolerance of the Europeans towards the refugees, the immigrants and any other minority decreases daily. This fact is also confirmed by the recent survey conducted by Pew Research Center on European scale.

The idea of a multicultural society seems to have collapsed for good. In the face of the immigrant European citizens see the foreign that will be a burden to economy and will endanger national security. The recent terrorist attacks intensify xenophobic and racist feelings as they offer ground for rushed assessments. In this context the rates of Islamophobia have dramatically increased in the recent period.

Regarding our country, the results are highly worrisome. Greece lies steadily among the first countries with the highest scores of negative opinions towards immigrants and refugees. Greece also holds the highest score in Europe regarding society’s negative attitudes towards the Jews. These results must not come as a surprise to us. For a long time diffused anti-Semitism is common in Greece, as this recent survey came to confirm. Anti-Semitic incidents increase more and more. Intolerance seems to have put roots in the very heart of society. The rhetoric of stereotypes and conspiracy theories, as well as prejudice against the Jews, and secondly against the Muslims, is widely tolerated by a major part of Greek society.

Therefore, let this survey be a starting point for reaction. It is time that all competent authorities rise high to the challenge of their responsibilities.

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KIS ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE DEADLY ATTACKS AT THE AIRPORT OF ISTANBUL Print E-mail
Thursday, 30 June 2016 09:43

Only a few months after the successive strikes in Istanbul and Brussels, Istanbul was hit on June 28, 2016, by a new terrorist attack. Specifically, Kemal Atatürk airport was attacked by suicide bombers and the death toll so far was heavy: 41 people were found dead and at least 239 were injured. It is undoubtedly the deadliest attack that has recently hit our neighbouring country. These difficult moments our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families, to which we express our deepest condolences.

Istanbul’s incidents are the latest act of a play that does not seem to have an end. The terrorist attacks across Europe have dramatically multiplied and the perpetrator is always the same: is the Islamic State and its radical fanaticism. The fear of terrorism hovers daily over Europe.

On behalf of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, the unequivocal condemnation of these attacks is self-evident.

It is our strong duty to combat with all our strengths the Islamic fundamentalism along with the fanaticism that sinks our societies into fear. We must not allow hatred to nest permanently in Europe’s heart. Unfortunately, there is no time for complacency.

Athens, June 30, 2016
CENTRAL BOARD OF JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN GREECE

 
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 09:44

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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