The Moldovan government and the Orthodox Church must punish the perpetrators of this despicable anti-Semitic crime and send a clear signal to Moldovan society and to the Jewish community that the government and the church will not tolerate anti-Semitism.
New York, NY (Vocus) December 15, 2009
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today urged the government of Moldova and the leadership of the Orthodox Church to punish those responsible for uprooting a Hanukkah menorah on a main public square in MoldovaÂs capital, Chisinau, and replacing it with an Orthodox cross.
A video shows an Orthodox priest, identified by the Moldovan media as Fr. Anatoliy Chirbik, leading a demonstration of about 100 people yesterday at Stefan the Great Square and saying, ÂWe are an Orthodox country. Stephan the Great defended our country from all kinds of kikes, and now they come and put their menorah here. This is anarchy.Â The priest and demonstrators then uprooted the menorah and dumped it behind a statue of Moldovan national hero King Stefan the Great.
ÂThe Moldovan government and the Orthodox Church must punish the perpetrators of this despicable anti-Semitic crime and send a clear signal to Moldovan society and to the Jewish community that the government and the church will not tolerate anti-Semitism,Â said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.
In a letter to Nicolae Chirtoaca, MoldovaÂs Ambassador to the United States, ADL called on his government Âto apprehend and punish the perpetrators of this anti-Semitic crime.Â The League said it was particularly shocked at reports that 15 to 20 police officers were at the site during the protest, but did little to intervene.
ADL also expressed disappointment with the official statement from leaders of the Moldovan Orthodox Church, who called the attack Âa sad event.Â
ÂThe reported reaction of the Orthodox Church falls far short of a vigorous condemnation,Â Mr. Foxman said. ÂThe church needs to make clear that this sort of behavior is unacceptable, and should take action to punish any church officials who were involved in organizing the demonstration, including Fr. Chirbik.Â
Moldova Justice Minister Alexandru Tenase was quoted by MoldovaÂs Publik TV as saying the government would not tolerate the desecration of religious objects and Âwill apply the harshest penalties to discourage anyone attempting similar actions.Â
The Hanukkah menorah was erected by members of the local Jewish community. The menorah, which stands 5-feet tall, was reinstalled and is now under police protection.
The Anti-Defamation League , founded in 1913, is the worldÂs leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.
Myrna Shinbaum (212) 885-7747
Todd Gutnick (212) 885-7755
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