Knesset Members vow Jewish continuity at conference in Ukraine

MKs meet with President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky and attend 'Kyiv Jewish Forum' hosted by the Jewish confederation of Ukraine.

May 7, 2019 06:18
1 minute read.
Knesset Members vow Jewish continuity at conference in Ukraine

Members of Knesset visit Ukraine, May 2019. (photo credit: KNESSET SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)

Three Members of Knesset and the Knesset director traveled to Kiev to participate in a forum hosted by the Jewish confederation of Ukraine. Yoel Razbozov and Orly Fruman, both of Blue and White, Issawi Freij of Meretz and Knesset Director Albert Sakharovitz represented Israel at the conference.

"We are in the capital of Ukraine, but our hearts are with the residents of the south, the families of the dead and the wounded in Israel," MK Fruman stated during a panel on Jewish identity in the 21st century. Over 700 rockets were fired into Israel's south over the past several days from Gaza.
"It is important that the Jewish communities do not feel disconnected from the State of Israel," Fruman added, "the unity of the Jewish people is not only something we talk about, it is our essence." 

MK Razbozov and the Knesset Director Sakharovitz praised the good inter-parliamentary relations between the Knesset and the Rada, Ukraine's parliament.

Razbozov was born in the former Soviet Union and Freij, although not Jewish, participated in the conference as an Israeli member of Parliament as well.

The Israeli delegation also met with President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky, Speaker of the Parliament Andrei Parubiy and Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman.

Other forums at the conference focused on antisemitism and Israeli-diaspora relations. World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder also attended the conference and told The Jerusalem Post he was concerned over the rise of hard-right, ultranationalist and populist parties in Europe.

Ukraine has a rich Jewish history and is currently home to an estimated 360,000 – 400,000 Jews. Kiev holds the largest Jewish population.

Tourism to Uman is strong, especially on Rosh Hashanah, the traditional time when the Breslov hasidic Jews visit the grave of the mystic sage Rabbi Nachman. The pilgrimage to Uman can attract up to 30,000, mostly Israeli, both secular and haredi.

This month's election of Zelensky, who is of Jewish heritage, adds another dimension to Jewish Ukrainian life. Prime Minister Groysman is also from a Jewish family, making Ukraine the only country other than Israel to have both a Jewish prime minister and President

The two countries have been doing brisk economic trade over the past decade.

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