Daily Israel Report

Billionaire Ukrainian to Head European Jewish Group

The two largest European Jewish groups now are headed by billionaires following the election of a Ukrainian bank tycoon.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 10/26/2010, 7:46 PM / Last Update: 10/26/2010, 8:22 PM

File photo

The two largest European Jewish groups now are headed by billionaires following the election of Ukrainian bank tycoon Ihor Kolomoysky as president of the European Council of Jewish Communities for a five-year term.

The other group – the European Jewish Congress – is headed by Russian-born billionaire philanthropist Moshe Kantor.

Kolomoysky is the co-owner of PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest bank, and he also is president off the United Jewish Community of Ukraine. The country has witnessed an increasing amount of anti-Semitism, including vandalism on Jewish graves and attacks on synagogues and Jews.

Twenty-five delegates of European countries at the Congress of the European Jewish Council in Berlin elected Kolomoysky, according to the United Jewish Community of Ukraine. Israel's ambassador to Europe, Israeli government ministers and leaders of the American Jewish Council also attended.

The European Council describes itself as the “the pan-European umbrella body for Jewish communities and organizations across the continent, representing Jewish community life across West, Central and Eastern Europe covering around 40 countries.”

The separate Paris-based European Jewish Congress calls itself “the sole representative body of democratically elected European Jewish communities throughout Europe, and works with national governments, European Union institutions and the Council of Europe.”

The EJC says that approximately 2.5 million Jews live in Europe.