(Athens, 28 February 2020) The European Jewish Congress was represented by Raya Kalenova, Executive Vice-President and CEO at a ceremony honouring David Saltiel, President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS). Mr. Saltiel was presented with the medal of the Grand Commander of the Order of the Phoenix, by H.E. Mr. Prokopios V. Pavlopoulos, President of the Hellenic Republic.
This prestigious medal is bestowed to personalities, Greek citizens or foreigners, who have helped raise Greece’s prestige internationally and have excelled in their field of practice or in public life. This is the first time that a Jewish leader has been bestowed with this honour.
President Pavlopoulos praised the achievements of Mr. Saltiel and his dynamic personality and presented him with the medal and presidential decree. Mr. Saltiel thanked President Pavlopoulos, not only for the great honour bestowed on him but also for the active support of the President on issues related to Greek Jewry.
“As a child of the post – War era I felt it was my duty to become a ‘bridge’ between old and new. I explored the roots of my religion without feeling confined by diversity. I proudly embraced the Greek, the Salonican, the Jew. My motto in life is that bridging the gaps can only bring to positive results. This spirit guides me in my personal life, my work, my activities for the benefit of the Jewish Community, for the strengthening of the relations between Greece and Israel, as well as between Diasporas,” said Mr. Saltiel.
EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor congratulated Mr. Saltiel on receiving such a prestigious honour. “David Saltiel is not only a distinguished and well-respected Jewish leader but a true friend, and for the Hellenic Republic to honour him is to honour all of European Jewry.”
Also in attendance at the ceremony were Panagiotis Pikrammenos, Vice President of the Greek Government; Yossi Amrani, Israeli Ambassador to Greece; Dr. Efstathios Lianos Liantis, Head of the Greek Representation to IHRA; Yiannis Zervas, Mayor of Thessaloniki; Makis Matsas, President of the Jewish Museum of Greece; Victor Eliezer, Secretary General of KIS and members of the Saltiel family.
Mr. Saltiel has been previously awarded with the distinction of Cavaliere (2008) and Officer of the Order of the Star (2019) by Italy, with the Legion d’ Honneur (2011) by France, with the Cross of Merit (2017) by the Federal Republic of Germany, and with the Cross of the Order of Isabel la Católica (2018) by Spain.