Crif : Ariel Eichbaum, you are President of AMIA, and Daniel Pomerantz, executive director of AMIA. Can you introduce your association?
AMIA : AMIA (Jewish Mutual Association of Argentina) is the bigger representation of the Jewish Community in Argentina. The association is central in the life of the Argentinian Jewish community.
AMIA promote the well-being and individual, family and institutional development of Jewish life in Argentina, to ensure continuity, sustain the values of our people and strengthen the sense of community.
Indeed, our association plays a social role by supporting a lot of Jewish people with economics difficulties for example. In Argentina, we’re in the middle of an economic crisis. Jewish population, mostly from the middle class, is impacted. The AMIA tries to deal with the new environment and to help the Jewish community, in every way she can. We subside to Jewish people in need, especially kids, Jewish schools etc. But we also run a lot of programs open to the entire Argentinian society. That’s our strength.
Crif : What is the situation for the Jewish Community in Argentina nowadays? What are your challenges in order to protect the Jewish community?
AMIA : There are approximatively 250 000 Jews in Argentina. AMIA’s Jewish Center is in Buenos Aires where 80% of them are living Buenos Aires (city and suburbs).
Our biggest challenge is to preserve the sense of community. We want the Jewish community to be united and strong in Argentina. They think different about what it is to be Jewish nowadays. Nevertheless, globally, Jewish people in Argentina are very Zionist. We have big ties with Israel. And this is important for us to maintain good relationship between Argentina and Israel.
One of AMIA’s priority mission is also to preserve the Jewish cemeteries. It is really important for us to make sure there are protected and preserved.
We are also deeply concerned by the trial of the AMIA bombing, which happened 25 years ago. Our main preoccupation is the relation between Argentina, Iran and Hezbollah.
But our job is to make sure that what happened at AMIA Center, 25 years ago, never happen again. So we invest a big part of our budget into the security. AMIA Jewish Center is protected 24h/24, every day. Schools, synagogues, cemeteries, Jewish buildings: AMIA provides security for all of them.
Crif : You’re actually in Paris to present an exhibition at the Argentinian Embassy, that commemorate the 25 years of the AMIA bombing. What can you tell us about it?
AMIA : This exhibition is in memory and honor of the victims of the terrorist attack, that happened 25 years ago, at the AMIA Jewish Center. The exhibition shows many people, many different histories, that met because of the bombing.
But this exhibition is also a way to maintain this tragic event into the public agenda! 25 years later, we are still waiting for Justice! Nobody is in jail.
Our goal is to speak about the bombing, to preserve the memory of the victims and to share what happened to a new public, to arouse interest.
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