Jewish groups ‘deeply concerned’ over Ukraine

An indeterminate number of Jews have taken part in fighting on the barricades since the protests started in late November.

By
February 19, 2014 20:01
2 minute read.
Protests in Kiev, Ukraine, December 12, 2013

Ukraine protests 370. (photo credit: Sam Sokol)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Several Jewish organizations expressed concern on Wednesday that increasing violence in Kiev could spill over into anti-Semitic attacks against the Jewish community.

The groups, both within the Ukraine and abroad, issued statements in the wake of this week’s violence between riot police and antigovernment protesters who have occupied the city’s Maidan Square, calling for President Viktor Yanukovich to step down.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


While local Jewish leaders have urged their constituents to avoid getting involved in the conflict, an unknown number of Jews have taken part in fighting since the protests started in late November.

At least 26 people, both police and protesters, have been killed since the police started their current push to clear the square on Tuesday.

It is impossible to know if any of those killed were Jews.

None has been publicly identified, Eduard Dolinsky, director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, told The Jerusalem Post.

“We, along with everyone else here, are highly concerned,” he said. “At the moment Jews are not specifically targeted, but if general violence erupts, Jews can become an easy target.”

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


According to Dolinsky, Israel’s ambassador is expected to meet with senior Ukrainian officials on Thursday.

In response to the violence, community schools have closed and Jews have undertaken to minimize their presence on the street, to avoid “falling into the hands” of frustrated and anti-Semitic demonstrators, Hillel Cohen, a representative of Hatzalah Ukraine, a local aid organization, said. Jewish institutions have increased their security.

Neither side has “brought the Jews into the national conflict,” Cohen added.

Despite this, Alex Selsky of the World Forum of Russian- Speaking Jewry said that “the community has a fear that the anger will be directed at the Jews, as has happened in the past.”

Since the protests began, two Jews have been assaulted in the city.

Both the European Jewish Union and the New Yorkbased Jewish Joint Distribution Committee have said they are keeping an eye on developments and are in contact with the community.

“JDC, together with its global partners, is constantly monitoring the situation on the ground and maintains round-the-clock contact with our staff and community leaders,” a spokesman said.

The organization is continuing to provide social and medical services to its Ukrainian clients and has “prepared contingency plans for a variety of scenarios.”

An EJC spokeswoman said the organization is “deeply concerned” by the use of weapons in Kiev. The group is “closely monitoring the situation” given that “there is also a minority nationalist element within the general protest movement who professed antagonism toward Jews,” a reference to the anti-Semitic Svoboda party.

Oleksandr Feldman, a Jewish member of the Ukrainian parliament and the founder of the UJC, issued a statement “to all parties of the conflict with the appeal to stop the violence and to [come to a] peaceful resolution.”

Feldman called on “our partners and friends in international and national Jewish organizations to create the urgent fund to help victims of the conflict.

“With more than 25 murdered people from both sides and hundreds of wounded, I sincerely believe that Jews must not stay indifferent in these extremely hard times for Ukraine,” Feldman said.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery

By JPOST.COM STAFF