In Kiev, Israeli experts run self-defense workshop to combat anti-Semitism

One of the instructors is David Djaoui, 34, with a background in military and security consulting.

March 14, 2014 02:39
1 minute read.

A Ukrainian soldier stands on a military vehicle at a checkpoint at the road near a Crimea region border March 9, 2014. . (photo credit: REUTERS)

The president of the World Forum of Russian-Speaking Jewry invited high-profile Israeli security instructors to host a self-defense workshop in Kiev in response to mounting anti-Semitism in Ukraine.

One of the instructors, David Djaoui, 34, with a background in military and security consulting, said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, “It [Sunday] was a tough day. We were training in a synagogue, and a demonstration was going on outside. The parliament was just two blocks away. Suddenly we heard sounds of explosions and you didn’t know whether there was an angry mob outside or not.”

Ozma cooperates with Magen David Adom and other Israeli defense experts to aid Jewish organizations with knowledge and expertise designed to psychologically and physically combat anti-Semitic attacks.

“People think of violence with a capital ‘V.’ But violence can be a lot of things,” Djaoui explained. “In Kiev they face a very specific kind of threat that is mainly psychological [arising from] massive demonstrations. A major risk they face could be an anti-Russian demonstration that could escalate into a lynching.”

He continued, “We are not just teaching standard Krav Maga, but also psychological elements of confrontation.”

Djaoui said he was “surprised by the dedication and concentration shown by the 30 participants. It felt like I was teaching motivated security professionals.”

Members of the group included community leaders, to security personnel and regular synagogue members.

“The feeling is that even though Jews aren’t targeted, Ukraine has a history when it comes to dealing with the Jews. People in the workshop would say, ‘I was in a demonstration, and I was really worried,’” Djaoui said.

The philosophy of Ozma, he explained, is that “as anti-Semitism is always going around, we want to change minds from being passive victims of anti-Semitism to be the actors of their own destiny.”

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