President Rivlin Departs For State Visit To Ukraine, Commemorations Of 75th Anniversary Of The Babi Yar Massacre


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1President Reuven and First Lady Rivlin on Monday evening 23 Elul departed for a State Visit to Ukraine during which President Rivlin will participate in the commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the Babi Yar Massacre.

“Over this visit we will commemorate the past, but we will look to the future,” said the President before departing, and added, “we are nearing 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and this visit is an opportunity to mark the cooperation between us, to make new commitments to working in partnership for the benefit of both our peoples. I see this visit as a good opportunity to strengthen the relations between our countries, and between our peoples.”

Tuesday, President Rivlin will lay a wreath during a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Kiev, at which a minute silence will be held, followed by the playing of the Ukrainian and Israeli national anthems. He will then go on to lay a wreath at the memorial to the Holodomor, the mass starvation in the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33. Later President and First Lady Rivlin will be received at an official state ceremony by Ukrainian President Petro and First Lady Maryna Poroshenko. The Presidents will review a guard of honor and will together stand for the national anthems. Following the official welcome, President Rivlin will hold a working meeting with President Poroshenko after which the two will deliver media statements at the Mariyinsky Palace. Later, President Rivlin will address a special plenary of the Ukrainian Parliament as part of a day of commemorations for the 75th anniversary of the Babi Yar Massacre. To conclude the day, President and First Lady Rivlin will be guests of honor at a State Dinner in honor of their visit, at the beginning of the event both Presidents will deliver addresses.

On Wednesday, President Rivlin will visit Odessa and meet the city’s Mayor before taking a tour of the sites and institutions of Odessa’s Jewish and Zionist heritage including Jabotinsky’s house, Prof. Joseph Klausner house, the ‘Geula’ building, and the home Chaim Bialik. President Rivlin will speak at the inauguration of the World ORT school in Odessa named after Ze’ev Jabotinsky.

During the event which will see the President officially unveil the sign bearing the school’s name, students will present readings of Jabotinsky’s letters in Hebrew and Ukrainian, and the President will join students in a Hebrew lesson. Later, President Rivlin will participate in a conference celebrating the life and work of Ze’ev Jabotinsky before going on to meet Mikheil Saakashvili, Governor of Ukraine’s Odessa Oblast (region). Before returning to Kiev, President Rivlin will address the opening of an exhibition at the Odessa Literary Museum on the work of Jabotinsky, and then will attend a concert at the Odessa Opera and Ballet Theater conducted by Benjamin Yusupov about the city in the days of Jabotinsky.

On Thursday, President Rivlin will meet with Jewish community leaders in Kiev, and then go on to hold a working meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman at the Prime Minister’s Office. In the afternoon, President Rivlin will participate in a reception for world leaders and figures ahead of the ceremony commemorating 75 years since the Babi Yar Massacre, and then participate in the official memorial ceremony at the site.

President & First Lady Rivlin will return to Israel early on Friday morning 27 Elul.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)