Diaspora Affairs Minister and Social Equality Minister Amichai Chikli sent letters to the ambassadors of Poland, Greece and Ukraine on Tuesday and Wednesday, calling them to action against recent antisemitic events in their countries of origin.
At an April 11 Basketball Champions League game in Athens, according to Chikli's letter to Greek Ambassador Loukakis, AEK Athens fans burned an Israeli flag, waved Hezbollah flags, threw firecrackers and attacked Israeli fans at the game.
"It should be noted," wrote Chikli, "that a similar event happened in December 2019 in another basketball match between these same teams in Athens, when in addition to burning the Israeli flag, AEK fans put up pictures of Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian terrorist responsible for deadly terror activity which killed dozens of Israeli citizens."
Polish antisemitic Easter traditions
In Poland last week, residents of the southeastern Polish town of Pruchnik hung and burned an effigy marked with antisemitic stereotypes as part of their Easter celebrations, according to a ynet report cited by the European Jewish Congress. The figure had a kippah on its head, "Judas 2023" written on its body, and was beaten thoroughly before being hung and burned.
The ceremony reportedly dates back to the Middle Ages, according to ynet, and is meant to be a mock trial for Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus.
"While traditions are important," wrote Chikli, "including those that represent different ideologies, the ceremonies mentioned above have led throughout history to blood libels, discrimination and pogroms against innocent Jewish people and other bystanders."
A nearly identical incident occurred in 2019 in Pruchnik, with an effigy of "Yehuda Iscariot," which had Judas 2019" written on it. "The incident sparked global condemnation," wrote Chikli, "leading the local municipality to declare they were ending the tradition." Yet, the practice resurfaced a few years later in 2023.
The Ukrainian Nazi collaborator
In Kyiv, the city council has expressed intention to name a street after a Nazi collaborator and SS official, the director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, Eduard Dolinsky reported.
According to Dolinsky, a street in the Ukrainian capital will be renamed following a motion passed by the city council, and will bear the name of Volodymyr Kubiyovych, who during the Holocaust was heavily involved in the formation of the Waffen-SS Galizien, a Nazi military force made up of Ukrainian volunteers.
In his letter, Chikli wrote: "During [World War II] Kubiyovych headed the social welfare and the economic committee (Ukrainian Central Committee), which published in august 1942 an officiant notice to deport Jews and anyone who hid them."
The common conclusion
Chikli closed out each letter with a sentence in bold font emphasizing that "it is of the utmost importance of me to reach out to you personally about this problematic incident."
In the letters to Poland and Greece, Chikli added that "since this specific case has repeated itself" a condemnation and/or "meaningful response" is requested of the governments in question. This, Chikli wrote, is to "ensure [the incident] will not repeat in the future."
Shira Silkoff contributed to this report.