In response to the recent upsurge in attacks against Jewish individuals and institutions throughout Ukraine, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, General Director of the European Jewish Association, has appealed to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to urgently send Israeli-trained security forces to protect the Jewish community across Ukraine.
Rabbi Margolin similarly appealed to all the heads of the European Union institutions, the foreign ministers and Ambassadors of the EU member states to lobby their Ukrainian counterparts to increase security to safeguard the country’s Jewish community.
Whilst warning that the anti-Semitic activity, which to date has included moderate levels of violence, could escalate the general civil unrest in the country and lead to increased casualties, Rabbi Margolin also emphasized the need for Jewish leaders across Europe to unite to appeal to Kiev authorities to take responsibility for protecting Ukrainian Jews from continued harassment.
In a letter to Netanyahu and Ya’alon, Rabbi Margolin told of the concerns and increasing helplessness of Ukrainian Jewry following two days which have seen heightened levels of anti-Semitic attacks. Amongst the incidents reported were the throwing of a Molotov cocktail at a Jewish community centre in the eastern city of Zaporozhye, a threatening phone message left for one rabbi ordering him to leave his city within 72 hours, and anti-Semitic graffiti in Kiev and other locations.
“Community reports indicate an alarming, and increasingly violent, trend of hatred towards Jewish targets – and so far, there’s been no reaction. The challenge is clear and the State must help to take security measures for what has become a Jewish emergency,” wrote Rabbi Margolin. Calling on the prime minister and defense minister to action “on behalf of the Jews of Ukraine, the Rabbinical Centre of Europe and the European Jewish Association”, he added: “I urge you to take every possible step, including dispatching security guards to secure the safety of Jewish communities in Ukraine.”
Recalling that the establishment of the State of Israel was intended to ensure the security of the entire Jewish nation, he added that the “(Israeli) air force flying over Auschwitz death camp conveyed a clear message that the State will ensure the security of Jews around the world, even in foreign countries. To avoid reaching such an extreme situation, Israel’s intervention is now required”.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)