Naples, Italy – The chief rabbi, Pierpaolo Pinhas Punturello, has snubbed the mayor, Rosa Russo Jervolino, by refusing to attend a city initiative to mark Holocaust Memorial Day today.
In a letter, the religious leader of the Naples' Jewish community said he was not welcome at a function after comments made by the mayor, Jervolino, on the Middle East several months ago.
"I will not meet our mayor since I will be at the University of Federico II for the presentation of the book, Judaism and Literature, an appointment that I made well before this, and as usual, the mayor's invitation was late," the letter said.
"Anyway, I don't believe I could meet Jervolino calmly after last October, when he faced a peace delegation of Israeli-Palestinian guests hosted by our city, provincial and regional governments, when he compared the Middle East political situation to the Nazi occupation, confusing the victims whose vile execution we want to commemorate," the letter said.
After the rabbi's withdrawal, another leading member of the city's Jewish community, Fabrizio Gallichi, advisor to the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, declined his invitation to the event. [aki]