President Rivlin Meets With Ukraine Prime Minister Groysman

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President Reuven Rivlin on Monday morning 19 Iyar, met at his residence with Prime Minister of Ukraine, Volodymyr Groysman, who was making an official visit to Israel accompanied by a delegation of government ministers who were participating in a wider set of G2G meetings with their Israeli counterparts.

“It is a real pleasure and honor to host you here in Jerusalem the capital city of Israel,” said President Rivlin welcoming his guest, and spoke of his visit to the Ukraine last year. “I really believe that in order to bring a new era of understanding between our two peoples, we have to recognize the past. We appreciate very much what you are doing against hatred, against, fascism, and against anti-Semitism.”

The President praised the growing cooperation and partnership between Israel and the Ukraine, and said he hoped that these good relationships would be expanded.

Prime Minster Groysman thanked the President for his welcome and said, “We are here to develop even better relationship with our friend Israel, and to deepen our strategic partnership.” He noted that the two countries had last year celebrated 25 years of diplomatic relations. “This visit should be another step in the development of that friendship,” he added.

“We have just returned from a visit to Yad Vashem,” the Prime Minister told the President. “It was a tragic page in history and is directly related to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, and we are proud to have had 2,500 ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ who represented Ukraine, it was a really tragedy, the murder of six million Jews just for being Jews, and this horrible figure includes 1.5 million children,” and noted he had been particularly moved by his visit to the Children’s Memorial.

He continued, “Mr. President, we appreciate your visit to Ukraine to mark the anniversary of the Babi Yar tragedy. The site was used to murder Jews and also people of Ukrainian and Roma ethnicity and other ethnicities because fascism and Nazism didn’t spare any ethnic group.” He added, “Today humanity has other challenges facing it, and Ukraine highly values human rights and human life and we have to fight for peace, we have to stand untied to protect our democratic values and to protect global peace.”

President Rivlin added, “When we say as Jews ‘never again’, we are not preaching to our people, we learned the lesson, we know what we have to do, we know that the security, and the burden of security.” He continued, “When we are talking about what happened, we have to teach all the people in order that it will not happen again. Fascism is a phenomenon, Nazism is a phenomenon, and it was all over Europe, there were a lot of people who thought like the Nazis about the Jews, and every one of us has to learn the lesson for their own people. No one can ignore the facts of history.”

The two went on to hold an extended discussion about the developments in the region, and about ways to further strengthen the ties between Israel and Ukraine.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem/Photo Credit: Mark Neiman, GPO)