Speech By EJC President Viatcheslav Kantor At The Ceremony Of Awarding Him With The Grand Cross Of The National Order “For Merit”. Bucharest, 11 March, 2014

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“Dear Mr President,

On behalf of the European Jewish Congress and in particular on behalf of the Romanian Jewish community, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to you personally for such a high level of appreciation of our activity. I am very happy to receive this award because today I feel that Europe is not something strange for Jews, but it is our home. We have lived in Europe for thousands of years and we are not strangers on this continent. And we want our home to respect us as European citizens, and we are very reliable citizens of Europe. That is why our colleagues and I, my family truly appreciate this event together with the Romanian community.

Unfortunately I don’t know a word in the Romanian language but I agree completely with everything you and Doctor Vainer have just said. This is real friendship and this is real tolerance.”

Aurel Vainer, President of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania:

“You know Romanian; you know my name – Aurel!”

Moshe Kantor:

“Sure! Now I would like to say a few words about a joint project with the Romanian community, Romanian Parliament and Romanian Government. Several months ago, we had a chance to present to the Parliament our product, the Model Law on Tolerance, and this is exactly about how tolerance should be, not just be declared, but really promoted in the society. Tolerance backs any type of development, in all directions and dimensions of human activity. Today is a very important historic moment, when we have to find a balance between the freedom of expression and speech, and the right to privacy and security. The Law is about this. And we are very grateful to you for this event, that you made it happen, this gesture of appreciation, the highest appreciation of the Republic of Romania. This is a true gesture of tolerance. Thank you very much for this! Thank you.”