14 March 2006, 11:42
No harm is allowed to come to the Jewish community in Russia
Acting Mayor of Jerusalem Yigal Amedi, in his interview to Interfax-Religion, has commented the victory of the Hamas movement, expressed appreciation of the development of the Jewish community in Russia and supported the refusal of the Moscow authorities to allow a gay parade in the capital.
- Do you share the opinion of those Israeli politicians who maintain that the victory of the Hamas in the elections in the Palestinian autonomy is a stab in Israel’s back?
- I think this situation is bad for the whole world, not only for Israel. The Hamas is a terrorist organization, and we know that the whole world seeks to combat terrorism. Therefore, the Hamas victory is a strong blow not only for Israel but for the world as a whole. If before the elections, before this situation has developed in the administrative structures of the Palestinian territories, we intended to cooperate with them, today all the relations have been blocked. And those who pinned too much hope on the eventual establishment of peace in the region have put their illusions out of their heads today.
- Is it impossible for Israel to have any relations in any form with the present leaders of the Palestinian Autonomy?
- It will be so as long as the Hamas refuses to recognize the right of the State of Israel to exist. Even if the Hamas leaders make assurances that they do recognize Israel, they will have to support these assurances with real actions.
- Are there many Jews coming to Israel from Russia today?
- During my present visit I have met some representatives of the Jewish community in Russia and I can say that they are nice and worthy people. I can also say that the Jewish community in Russia is flourishing. This is evident, among other things, from the state of the Moscow Choral Synagogue. But our Jewish tradition is such that when we pray we also look in the direction of Jerusalem. It is always in our hearts. And we hope that one day we will all gather together in Jerusalem. It is written so in our books. It may take time, but we believe in it.
- In your view, what is the level of anti-Semitism in Russia today?
- Regrettably, reports reach us occasionally about anti-Semitic incidents in Russia. But it should be noted that the situation in your country is altogether different from that in other countries of the world. In Russia there are real manifestations of friendship and mutual help existing between various people and adherents to various religions and full cooperation and good relations between the Jewish community and state structures. All together they do not allow harm to come to the Jewish community. We know of course about the act of vandalism in the synagogue on Bolshaya Bronnaya. However, everybody did something in response, and let us hope that such incidents, if impossible to eradicate, will occur as rarely as possible. Still these are rare occurrences.
- What do think about the idea of holding a gay parade in Moscow?
- Last year, some planned a similar event in the streets of Jerusalem. They were going to make it international at that. But Jerusalem is the cradle of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. And as soon as the information about the holding of a gay parade was made public, representatives of all the religious and public organizations in our city council expressed their opinion unambiguously. We said this: if you want to organize this event, then do it in some private facilities. But you cannot arrange it in public places since it may not correspond with the outlook of many people.
- That is to say that the authorities in Moscow and Jerusalem are in agreement on this issue…
- You see, don’t we have very good relations with Russia! But it is easier for Mr. Luzhkov in Moscow in this respect because it is winter here now and they cannot come out for a gay parade in fur coats! But generally, it is a nice city; there are different people in it, so why something like this should be arranged here? Let them get together somewhere in the country and hold it out there.