Netanyahu, Rivlin meet with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy

The Ukrainian president presented Netanyahu with a letter containing three stories from the Holocaust in Ukraine.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Jan. 24, 2020 (Credit: Eli Mandelbaum)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday at their respective residences.
"It is a great honor and a privilege for me to represent here the whole Ukrainian nation in remembrance of all the victims of the Holocaust. The Ukrainian nation, as no other nation, understands and is fully aware of the tragedy and its scale of all the lost lives of the Ukrainian Jews during the Second World War," said Zelensky to Netanyahu.
The Ukrainian president presented Netanyahu with a letter containing three stories from the Holocaust in Ukraine.
The first story was about a Muslim kindergarten teacher from Crimea who hid the identity of her students and pretended that they were Crimean. She taught them the language and customs and forged documents for them. Her actions saved 88 Jews.
The second story was about a Ukrainian Greek Orthodox clergyman who issued certificates of baptism to 600 Jews in order to save them. He was imprisoned in the Majdanek concentration camp and refused to leave when he was given the chance because he felt the need to stay to help the other prisoners.
The third story was about Zelensky's grandfather who was one of four brothers. The other three brothers and their parents were shot by the Nazis. Zelensky's grandfather was the only survivor.
"All in all, these stories are about one thing: your nationality, your religion, your age, your sex, your place of birth, have no meaning when there's the kind word and heart that moves you inside against the total evil that you stand up against," said Zelensky.
"The stories of incredible courage, the righteous among the nations, non-Jews, who saved Jews risking their lives the lives of their families. This is incomparable courage. The story of your own family. The struggle for life. The struggle for the future. This is what our common story represents," said Netanyahu.
The prime minister added that he looked forward to discussing how to strengthen relations between the two countries and how to confront the forces and regimes that threaten "our common civilization and our common future."
"Iran knew from the first moment that it had hit your plane and tried to cover it up. This says a lot about their regime," said Netanyahu in the meeting, according to Ynet.
"Delighted to welcome Ukrainian president @ZelenskyyUa who accepted my invitation to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau," wrote Rivlin on Twitter after meeting with Zelenskyy. "We share a commitment to educate future generations and to fight Holocaust.
Zelensky announced on Thursday that he and his country’s delegation had given their seats at the Fifth World Holocaust Forum in Yad Vashem to Holocaust survivors.
Zelensky, a 41-year-old Jewish actor who had no prior political experience, is Ukraine's first Jewish president.
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.