The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, has announced that for the first time, Azerbaijan will commemorate International Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27th.
The decision reportedly arose after a meeting with New York-based rabbi, Rabbi Marc Schneier, who said of their encounter: “President Aliyev said in response, ‘We would very much like to do this, and to be a part of it,’ and said that he would instruct his Foreign Ministry to coordinate with Israel’s ambassador to Azerbaijan in planning the commemoration events for the day.”
“I think this is one more step, one more benchmark in Aliev’s unparalleled solidarity and commitment to his indigenous Jewish community, and to world Jewry and the State of Israel,” he continued.
President Aliyev also agreed to provide funding to the only Jewish school in Azerbaijan, the Chabad Ohr Avner Jewish school in Baku, the country’s capital.
Rabbi Schneier added: “All around the Muslim world, we are seeing miracles of a bold new support for Jewish life and partnership between our communities. This magnanimous demonstration by President Aliyev is truly an astounding example of goodwill at the highest level, and mirrors Azerbaijan’s wholehearted commitment to the embrace of its Jewish population. I express my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to President Aliyev for his profound commitment to interreligious cooperation and coexistence.”
Azerbaijani Chief Rabbi Schneor Segal, a leader of the Alliance of Rabbis in Islamic States, also praised the President’s pledge to assist the school financially. “Azerbaijan is taking the concept of tolerance to a whole different level than what we see anywhere else in the world,” said Rabbi Segal. “For decades, the Jewish community has enjoyed a comfortable and peaceful life, without experiencing any sign of antisemitism. The government is truly committed to supporting and strengthening the future of the Jewish community in Azerbaijan. We are thankful to President Aliyev for his constant care for the Jewish population.”
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