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President of Montenegro, Israeli Government Minister and EAJC President welcome the Mahar conference of Balkan Jewish communities

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 7th Mahar conference in Budva, the President of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović, thanked for the honor to host the most important forum of Jewish communities and organizations in Southeast Europe. He also expressed concern about the spread of anti-Semitism on social networks. “We must use modern technology to combat hatred, to achieve mutual understanding and tolerance in society,” said President Milo Đukanović.

The Mahar conference, a central meeting point for Jewish communities of Albania, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, and Kosovo, is being held in Montenegro thanks to the efforts of the Montenegrin Jewish community under the patronage of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress.

Greeting the conference participants, the President of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, Dr. Mikhail Mirilashvili emphasized: “Unlike in other regions of Europe, there are no records of antiSemitic incidents in Montenegro. On the contrary, Montenegro is a perfect example of the harmonious existence of a Jewish community in the diaspora. Thanks in large part to the community leaders and personally the President of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović.”

The meeting with the Minister of Religious Services of Israel, Yitzhak Vaknin, was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice of Montenegro Zoran Pažin, the EAJC representative, Haim Blekhman, the President of the Jewish community of Montenegro, Djordje Raicević, the Chief Rabbi of Montenegro Ari Edelkopf, and others.

The Israeli minister expressed gratitude to the government and people of Montenegro for their sincere friendship with the Jewish people, as well as for their commitment to the universal values of peace, tolerance, and cooperation. Vaknin emphasized Israel’s willingness to share its advanced technological knowledge and enhance mutually beneficial economic cooperation with Montenegro.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice of Montenegro, Zoran Pažin, said at the meeting that Montenegro is proud of its traditional friendship with the Jewish people and the fruitful partnership with Israel. He also thanked the Jewish community of Montenegro for the significant contribution to the new legislation on religious freedom.

The Jewish community of Montenegro is one of the youngest Jewish communities in the world. Nevertheless, the organizers have managed to provide kosher food to about 500 conference participants of the 7th Mahar conference. This is the first such precedent in Montenegro.