Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received representatives of Jewish communities who arrived in the country to attend Monday’s opening of the Chabad Ohr Avner Jewish school, the AzerTAj state news agency reported.

The President said historically, representatives of different nations had been peacefully coexisting in Azerbaijan, adding this tradition successfully continues today.

Aliyev highlighted the opening of the Chabad Ohr Avner school, which took place earlier in the day, saying projects for national minorities in Azerbaijan contributed to strengthening the friendly relations among nations.

Lev Leviev, President of the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS and chief of the Ohr Avner Foundation, thanked President Aliyev for the hospitality and praised both his tolerance and attention to all national minorities in the country. He said national leader Heydar Aliyev`s wise policy of tolerance was successfully continued by President Ilham Aliyev. Leviev also praised the Heydar Aliyev Foundation’s and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva’s contributions to strengthening tolerance in Azerbaijan.

Berl Lazar, Chief Rabbi of Russia, also praised tolerance in Azerbaijan, stressing the necessity of promoting this experience. Lazar said the construction of the Chabad Ohr Avner Jewish school in Baku was a prefect example of this tolerance.

Azerbaijan is a moderate Muslim nation and among the first of the former Soviet republics to pursue diplomatic relations with Israel. The Jewish community is about 12,000 strong.

images courtesy Chabad.org (including in highlights box on home page)