Italy: New Jewish leader proposes new synagogue

Rome, 1 April(AKI) - Italy will have a new synagogue and more Kosher butchers if the new leader of Rome's Jewish Community has his way.

Riccardo Pacifici was elected president of the 15,000-strong community on Sunday, after incumbent Leone Passerman did not renew his term. The results were released on Monday night.

Pacifici, former vice-president and spokesman for the organisation, ran for the For Israel Party which is committed to defending Israel and fighting anti-Semitism.

In an interview with the Italian daily Il Messaggero, Pacifici said he wanted to build a new synagogue in the coastal city of Ostia, where there is a community of 400 Jews.

He also wants to encourage greater participation in the Jewish community from local residents as well as Israelis living in Rome, and to see more of what he called 'invisible' members who only appear at religious celebrations.

Forty-four year-old Pacifici also wants to increase the number of Kosher butcher shops in Rome and introduce a price control system to make them more affordable.

The new president told the Italian newspaper of plans to construct two new sports centres in Rome.

Pacifici has replaced Passerman, who had been president of the Jewish Community for the last eight years.

The election recorded a voter turnout of 35 percent, a seven percent increase over the previous elections in 2004.

Results of the election were not known until late Monday night.

Jews first arrived in Rome directly from Israel in the year 160 B.C. and have been living in the city ever since. There are an estimated 30,000 Jews living throughout Italy.


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