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Minsk, Belarus - Government Urged to Restore Synagogues

Published on: November 11, 2009 09:08 AM
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The Great Synagogue in Hrodna It is in a terrible state The Great Synagogue in Hrodna It is in a terrible state

Minsk, Belarus - The Israeli ambassador to Belarus has urged the authorities to restore synagogues amid a “disastrous” shortage of prayer houses for Jewish communities in the country.

The Belarusian government should pay attention to deteriorating synagogues, which were built with contributions by the faithful, Ambassador Edward (Eddie) Shapira said at an international conference in Minsk.

“I do understand that there is no restitution law in the country, but there is a wave of religious revival and the state does not only return churches that once belonged to Orthodox Christian communities but also helps renovate them,” the ambassador said.

Mr. Shapira expressed concern about the condition of the “unique” three-story synagogue in Hrodna. Many tourists, including Jews, visit the city, but it is impossible to invite them to the synagogue hit by “devastation,” he said.


The ambassador also voiced alarm over what he called the unwillingness of law-enforcers to probe attempts to incite national hate “even when they are visible by the naked eye.”

He said that a swastika and an anti-Semitic text were sprayed on the building of the Jewish community in Slutsk, Minsk region, earlier this year, condemning the act as a vivid example of racism.

The ambassador called on the authorities to draw up regulations that would prevent immoderate construction work at old Jewish cemeteries and the sites of the WWII mass execution of Jews, and ensure that human remains discovered at such sites be reburied with proper rituals.

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Read Comments (3)  —  Post Yours »


 Nov 11, 2009 at 09:52 AM Belarus Visitor Says:

I disagree 80% with the above article. As a frequent visitor to Belarus I must say that the government is doing a pretty good job in controlling the country. B"H there is almost no anti-Semitism. Just because someone sprayed a swastika doesn't mean that the government isn't doing anything. How many times a year do we have swastika spraying in the USA?

The Belarusian Government works and cooperates very nicely with the Jewish communities.

On the other hand I would tell Ambassador Shapira to do some homework with the local (so called) Jewish Organizations who do sometimes more damage to the Jewish Communities then the local government does.

Does Ambassador Shapira go to any shul in Minsk everyday or every Shabbos?

About the other 20%, I think the Government needs to be a bit more sensitive to the Jewish Community needs like, kosher food import, Visa issues, and Jewish cemeteries.


 Nov 11, 2009 at 11:10 AM avraham Says:


The treatment of Jews by the Belarussian authorities is absolutely disgusting, and I hope that all remaining Jews leave the country soon, and that Belarus should rot in hell.


 Nov 13, 2009 at 04:50 AM Anonymous Says:

The disasterous shortage of Jews in Belarus doesn't seem to bother the ambassador. He should remind the belarussians why the synagogues fell into disrepair.


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