(JTA) — The Moldovan government has expressed "deep regret" over the tearing down of a public menorah in its capital.
In a letter to Richard Stone, chairman of the NCSJ, an advocacy group for Jews in the former Soviet Union, and Mark Levin, NCSJ executive director, Moldovan U.S. Ambassador Nicolae Chirtoaca wrote that "(T)he Republic of Moldova is a democratic state and guarantees the fundamental human rights and freedoms, whereas hatred, intolerance, xenophobia and other negative phenomena are inadmissible."
On Sunday, some 200 fundamentalist Orthodox Christians took down the Chanukah menorah in downtown Chisinau that had had been installed by the Jewish community and planted a wooden cross in its place. Neither police nor onlookers intervened as the large, metal menorah in Europe Square was placed upside down on Stefan cel Mare Square at the base of a statue of King Stephen the Great.
News footage showed a bearded priest leading the group in chanting anti-Semitic slogans during the incident.
According to the letter, the Moldovan government has "called on representatives of all religious confessions, ethnic groups and all citizens to abstain from actions that may damage harmony in society, friendship and co-existence of various ethnic groups and religious confessions, peace and good understanding."