The election of the Greek-Jew, Moses Elisaf, as mayor of Ioannina came as a surprise.
And as such, it was treated as big news in Greece and abroad.
But, of course, it was a very pleasant surprise.
A surprise proving the general progress of society and the concrete, substantial progress made in relations between the Greeks and the Jews.
Two historical peoples with many things in common – including devotion to education, entrepreneurship, deep appreciation for family and tradition, and important diaspora communities – that once lived harmoniously in Thessaloniki, in Ioannina and elsewhere.
The National Herald recently conducted an interview with Mr. Elisaf, from which I quote a question and the answer, which gets to the essence of this subject:
The National Herald: “As a Romaniote Jew, do you think your victory is a vindication for the community, which was almost completely exterminated by the Nazis?”
Moses Elisaf: “We could say that too. Today the community has shrunk. It’s just fifty people. However, its presence is interrelated with the long history of Ioannina. Christians and Jews co-existed, created, and left their footprints in the city.
My election, however, was not based on religion. My fellow citizens judged our campaign, our contributions, our experience, and trusted us for our proposals and our program.”
This is what progress looks like.
That is the essence.