Moldavia: Holy War

 

Moldovan Christians tear down public menorah

December 14, 2009

BUDAPEST (JTA) — About 200 fundamentalist Orthodox Christians in Moldova, led by a priest spouting anti-Semitic slurs, took down a public Chanukah menorah and planted a wooden cross in its place.

News footage showed the bearded priest leading the group in chanting anti-Semitic slogans during Sunday’s incident. The menorah had been installed by the Jewish community in the Moldovan capital, Chisinau.

The group removed the large, metal menorah, which had been set up on downtown Europe Square, and then placed it upside down on Stefan cel Mare Square, at the base of a statue of King Stephen the Great. Neither police nor onlookers intervened.

“The Jews can try to kill us, to traumatize our children,” but Moldovan Orthodox believers will resist, the priest said, speaking into a sound system. Moldova, he said, was an Orthodox country, and the Jewish people are trying to “dominate people.” Allowing the menorah to be set up had been “a sacrilege, an indulgence of state power today,” he said.

Justice Minister Alexandru Tanese condemned the incident and the Orthodox Metropolitan promised to investigate and take action, according to reports.

Incitement to racial and religious hatred in Moldova is subject to a fine or imprisonment of up to three years.

In neighboring Romania, the Center for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism issued a statement urging authorities to take “immediate measures” against the perpetrators. “Such an act committed by a priest with the Orthodox Church is totally inconceivable and it takes us back to the days when the local population, if it did not participate, witnessed with indifference the crimes committed against the Jews,” the center’s statement said.

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