(JTA) — The Moldovan Orthodox Church blamed the Jewish community for the recent anti-Semitic protest in which a public menorah was torn down.
"We believe that this unpleasant incident in the center of the capital could have been avoided if the menorah had been placed near a memorial for victims of the Holocaust," the church’s statement said, according to a report Monday by the Interfax news agency, reported UCSJ: Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union.
On Dec. 13, some 200 fundamentalist Orthodox Christians in the Moldovan capital Chisinau removed the large, metal menorah that had been set up in downtown Europe Square, and placed it upside down on Stefan cel Mare Square at the base of a statue of King Stephen the Great. The group chanted anti-Semitic slogans during the incident. Neither police nor onlookers intervened.
The church’s statement said it disagreed with the form of the protest, and that the church respects "the feelings and belief of other cults that are legally registered on the territory of the Republic of Moldova, and expects a similar attitude from their side," according to the report.
"At the same time," the statement continued, "we think it inappropriate to put a symbol of the Jewish cult in a public place connected to the history and faith of our people, especially because Chanukah is classified by the cult books of Judaism as a ‘holiday of blessing’ that symbolizes the victory of Jews over non-Jews."
The Moldovan national government and Chisinau city government have condemned the incident.