The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) on Monday welcomed the election of the first Greek Jew as mayor, describing it as a “milestone” for the community and the country.
Moisis Elisaf, a prominent doctor in the city of Ioannina, in northwestern Greece, prevailed in a second round of local authority elections.
Elisaf, a professor at the local university and former general secretary of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, clinched 50.33 percent of the vote compared to 49.67 percent for his opponent, Thomas Begas.
“For Greek Jewry, the success of Moisis Elisaf marks a milestone in the history of Jewish presence, both in the city of Ioannina, and for Greece, as, for the first time, a Greek Jew is elected as mayor. It is a success that causes admiration and deep emotions,” KIS said in a statement.
“The citizens of Ioannina have chosen a worthy person to lead this city towards the path of development and progress. The citizens of Ioannina have also sent a strong message against fanaticism, intolerance and antisemitism,” it added.
The Romaniote-Jewish community of Greece is the oldest in Europe. At the beginning of World War II, the community in Ioannina numbered about 2,000 members, but very few survived the Holocaust.