Jews petition Montenegro for synagogue for tiny community

(JTA) — Two Jewish organizational leaders asked Montenegro’s president to help the Balkan country’s small Jewish community build a synagogue.

The issue was raised last week during a visit to Montenegro by Vadim Rabinovich and Joel Rubinfeld, both chairmen of the recently established European Jewish Parliament. Montenegro, an area of the former Yugoslavia that became independent in 2006 and has about 660,000 residents, has a Jewish population of a few dozen, according to the EJP. A 2007 Montenegrin statistical study of the country’s population found 12 Jews.

Rubinfeld and Rabinovich met with President Flip Vujanovic, Foreign Minister Nebojsa Kaluderovic and other politicians. Local politicians from Montenegro’s capital, Podgorica, reportedly support the Jewish community’s wishes to build a synagogue and a Jewish community center.

The Montenegrin politicians asked for support for the country’s efforts to qualify to enter the European Union, according to EJP.

Earlier this year, the country’s prime minister, Igot Luksic, signed a statement recognizing Judaism as Montenegro’s fourth official religion.

According to the European Jewish Congress, “there is no public manifestation of anti-Semitism” in Montenegro and the Holocaust was “not carried out in an organized way” in Montenegro before the end of 1943, when the Germans conquered the area.

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