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Romania’s Chief Rabbi Seeks U.S. Aid, Warns of Danger to Jewish Community

Romania’s chief rabbi, Moses Rosen, warned Americans last week that unless the United States helps Romania economically, there is no chance that democracy will emerge in the former communist country.

“Hungry people going to the ballot are dangerous people,” said Rosen, and democracy cannot survive if the people are hungry, Rosen said in a talk to reporters Wednesday at the National Press Club.

He said Jews would be the “first scapegoat” of a resurgent fascism if democracy fails in Romania. But “this is a danger not only for us,” but for all Romanians, the rabbi warned.

Rosen was introduced by Aurel Dragos Munteanu, a Jew who is Romania’s new ambassador to Washington.

Rosen, 80, said that despite promises to the Jewish community, President Ion Iliescu has done little to stop anti-Semitism in the country. He said he was especially disturbed by the growing attempts to rehabilitate the name of Ion Antonescu, Romania’s pro-Nazi dictator who encouraged the massacre of Jews in World War II.

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