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FM Tzipi Livni: Construction Halted in Odessa

hol1.jpgAccording to Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, in her response to MK Rabbi Shmuel Halpert, construction in Odessa, Ukraine, at the site where the Nazi’s YMS murdered and burned 25,000 Jews, has come to a halt.

Halpert, who heads the committee to preserve and rehabilitate Jewish cemeteries in Europe, turned to the foreign minister and other notables in Israel and abroad to bring a halt to the construction on the site.

In July 2008, human bones were uncovered in the construction site, a location at which 25,000 Jews were martyred. The news of the uncovering of the human remains led to an outcry from the international Jewish community. Chabad rav, Rabbi Wolf, was among those who traveled to the site to get a first-hand look at the realities vis-à-vis the construction project.

Officials in Odessa stated that construction did not begin, but they were digging to permit placement of plumbing infrastructure. He confirmed that bones were found in the area, but stated there was a question as to “their authenticity”. Local police reportedly took some of the bones to an unknown location. Odessa’s mayor called to respect the memory of the victims and to halt construction, which includes the creation of a a recreational and entertainment center.

In addition, Haifa City Hall, which is twined with Odessa, also turned to authorities in Odessa along with a number of members of Knesset and diplomatic officials, including America’s consular representative to Odessa.

Simultaneously, Kiev diplomatic officials contacted Odessa Jewish leaders, informing them that while most of the remains were indeed from the Jews, there were others killed and buried at the location – stating that the Ukrainian government was dealing with the matter. At present, there is no construction but the situation demands constant monitoring, around-the-clock.

Officials in the Israel Foreign Ministry report they continue to monitor the situation, with reports stating Odessa officials indicate if indeed it is determined this is the site of the slaughter of so many people, construction would not continue.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)

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