Moldovan leader calls for stronger ties with Israel

CHISINAU, Moldova (JTA) –The prime minister of Moldova called for strengthening ties between the Eastern European country and Israel.

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Prime Minister Vlad Filat made the call over the weekend during a meeting with Jewish leaders who are in Moldova to take part in Limmud FSU, the first time the Jewish learning festival is being held in this former Soviet republic.

“I call for expanded economic ties between Israel and Moldova and encourage Israeli investors from all sectors of the economy and trade,” Filat said, according to Limmud organizers.

Among those attending the meeting was American businessman and philanthropist Matthew Bronfman, who is chair of the international steering committee of Limmud FSU; Limmud FSU founder Chaim Chesler; and Yoram Dori, a longtime advisor to Israeli President Shimon Peres. 

Also at the meeting were local Jewish community leaders Alexander Pinchevsky and Alexander Bilinkis.

Filat stressed that there was a new openness in Moldova to outside and private investors. Moldova is Europe’s poorest country and has had communist governments even after it gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Limmud FSU is hosting its first ever session in Moldova with over 400 participants from Moldova and eastern Ukraine. The seminars attempt to reinforce Jewish education and identity among Jewsfrom the former Soviet Union.

Chisinau, often known by its Russian name of Kishinev, has a long history as a Jewish center. However, most of the country’s Jews immigrated to Israel after the fall of the Soviet Union, among them current Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

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