Greek Jews Slam Appointment of Far Right Health Minister

Makis Voridis Belonged to Anti-Semitic Party


By JTA

Published June 09, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Makis Voridis, a longtime member of ultranationalist parties, was appointed health minister in Greece.

Monday’s appointment, part of a widespread government reshuffle, was met with disappointment by members of the Greek Jewish community.

“No Jewish person can be happy about the appointment of a man who was, until two years ago, a head of the extreme right-wing and anti-Semitic LAOS party,” said Victor Eliezer, the secretary general of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece.

Voridis, 49, after being elected to the European Parliament, formed an alliance with the head of France’s National Front party, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who was a guest at his wedding. He then merged his party with LAOS, a populist, nationalistic party founded by a politician known for his anti-Semitic views, George Karatzaferis.

Two years ago, Voridis was among several LAOS members who joined the conservative New Democracy party of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras after LAOS failed to qualify for Parliament amid the rise of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party. Samaras has been accused of pandering to the far right in a bid to stem the loss of votes to Golden Dawn, which emerged as the third-largest party in Greece.

Samaras maintains that those who joined New Democracy have committed to abide by party policy, which condemns anti-Semitism and racism.

Voridis has since written to the Jewish community, expressing his opposition to Holocaust denial and his commitment to “putting an end to anti-Semitic, racist prejudice which is an outright violation of human dignity.”

Eliezer called it a “step in the right direction,” but said the Jewish community would like to see him and the other former LAOS members completely renounce their past views. In the reshuffle, Voridis replaces another former LAOS member, Adonis Georgiadis.

Voridis had risen to prominence as the head of a student group at Athens University that fellow students recount as painting swastikas on the walls and greeting each other with “Heil Hitler.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.