During his visit to Israel, the President of Albania, Ilir Meta, attended the ceremonies on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and gave an interview to the best known national newspaper, The Times of Israel.
During the interview, the head of state spoke with journalist Larry Luxner about the holocaust, the relationship between the two countries and the Kosovo issue.
This is Meta's second visit to Israel; his first visit to the country dates back to 2014 when he held the position of President of the Chamber.
During his visit he met with his counterpart, Reuven Rivil who received an invitation to visit Albania this year.
"I'm here because we must never forget"Meta said.
“The best way to do this is to show our solidarity with those who have suffered so much and lost their lives during the Holocaust. We also want to honor the survivors who witnessed this genocide and send a clear message to anyone who promotes exclusion, hatred and violence, which anti-Semitism has no place in our societies. In this forum I represented Albania, which has been unique not only for the protection and salvation of all its Jews, but also for the protection of thousands of other Jews who have come to Albania from various countries so as not to be exterminated " .
President Meta said there should be a clear distinction between the hostile anti-Israeli policies of the tyrannical dictatorship of Enver Hoxha and the feelings of ordinary people towards Jews.
“Despite the rhetoric of the communist regime against Israel at the time, the Jewish people in Albania were highly respected and well integrated into our country. One of my best teachers, Marlena Dojaka, was Jewish and we are still in contact. Jews were among the best intellectuals in Albania ", said President Meta.
When the communists collapsed in the early 90s, practically all Jews emigrated to Israel. Today, together with their descendants, there are about 550, said community leader Felicita Jakoel, who was among the representatives of the Israeli-Albanian community to meet President Meta. The organizer of that meeting was Bardhyl Canaj, Albania's ambassador to Israel.
“If we tolerate anti-Semitism, it could endanger everyone, not just the Jews. During the Holocaust, six million Jews were killed. But all those who "abandoned" the Jews eventually realized that anyone could fall victim to such policies. "
Kosovo and Israel, a friendship that can be strengthened with the recognition of the Kosovar state.
President Meta has been asked if Albania is working behind the scenes to promote the establishment of diplomatic ties between his two best friends: Kosovo and Israel.
“I don't know about the other countries because I can't speak on their behalf, but I can assure you about Kosovo; Kosovars have great respect for Jews and vice versa. I hope the moment of recognition of Kosovo will come. Until then, all bilateral cooperation and development opportunities should be seized "Meta said.
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