A Jewish man was shot to death by pro-Russian insurgents in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Friday, community leaders told The Jerusalem Post.

George (Eliyahu) Zilberbord, 47, was shot when attempting to prevent rebels from robbing his neighbors’ house, according to the Ukrainian Jewish Committee and the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine (Vaad).

He was buried in Kiev by Rabbi Pinchas Vishedski of Donetsk and members of the community currently in the capital to escape the fighting. Jews are not being specifically targeted by the rebels, Ukrainian Chief Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich said Tuesday, adding that “they are shooting indiscriminately and people are being killed so even if a Jew was killed, I don’t think anybody was killed because they were Jewish.”

Vishedski and other eastern Ukrainian leaders have previously made statements along the same lines, explaining that any danger to the local community comes from its presence in a conflict zone and not from any specific animus against Jews by either side.
Separatist leaders vehemently distanced themselves from flyers calling on the Jews of Donetsk to register with the city’s rebel administration during the early days of the civil war.

Bleich has previously accused Russia of using the specter of anti-Semitism as an excuse for intervention in Ukraine and has gone so far as to accuse Moscow of staging provocations against Jews to further its interests there.

The Russians “are cynically willing to play the Jewish card in the implementation of their objectives, and are therefore [shown to be] willing to sacrifice Jews,” Josef Zissels of the Vaad, told the Post in April.

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