Greece's First Jewish Mayor Appointed in Northwestern City

Mayor Moses Elisaf is the head of a small local Jewish community and he previously served as the head of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

Sunset on a traditional alley in Megalo Papingo village in Ioannina, Greece.
Stamatios Manousis / Shutterstoc

A city in northwestern Greece elected the country’s first Jewish mayor.

Moses Elisaf was elected mayor of Ioannina on Sunday in the second round of local elections, the Ekathimerini newspaper reported. The newspaper dubbed him the country’s first Jewish mayor.

Elisaf, who ran as an independent, won by a close vote, garnering 50.33 percent of the vote compared to his opponent’s 49.67 percent. Ioannina has a total population of nearly 57,000.

Elisaf is a professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Ioannina, Medical School and director of the 2nd Department of Internal Medicine. He is also head of the Lipids, Atherosclerosis, Obesity and Diabetes Department of the University Hospital of Ioannina.

He has been head of the small local Jewish community now numbering about 50 for 17 years. He previously served as the head of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece. The Jews in Ioannina are of the Romaniote tradition, an ethnic Jewish community native to the Eastern Mediterranean.

Greece is home to about 5,000 Jews. Some 90 percent of the Jews of Greece were killed during the Holocaust.