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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Arson Attacks on Etz-Hayyim Synagogue


Press Statement
Mark C. Toner
Acting Deputy Department Spokesman
Washington, DC
January 20, 2010

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We strongly condemn the January 5 and January 16 arson attacks on the Etz-Hayyim Synagogue in the city of Chania on the island of Crete. The Synagogue dates back to the Middle Ages and is one of the last Jewish monuments on the island. An attack on the Etz-Hayyim Synagogue is an attack on Greece's history and heritage. The second attack caused severe damage to the Synagogue, destroying nearly 2,000 books and severely damaging the building's wooden roof.

This attack was clearly intended to intimidate and terrorize Greece's Jewish community and is only the latest of several incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism throughout Greece over the past few years. We applaud the Greek government for condemning these attacks and taking a strong stand against anti-Semitism and racism.

Our Embassy in Athens is in contact with the Synagogue. Embassy officials will be meeting with their Greek counterparts to underscore U.S. concern over this incident.



PRN: 2010/079

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