Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told visiting Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych Wednesday, ”There is a tremendous historic bond between Israel and the Ukraine.”
“The Jewish national movement [and] the Hebrew language were revived in Ukraine,” the Prime Minister told the visiting president.
“Ukrainian Jews had a tremendous part in building the Jewish state and now they have a tremendous part in developing the Israeli state,” he added. Prime Minister Netanyahu reminded President Yanukovych that “ 350,000 Israelis of Ukrainian origin are helping build a new Israel and build a new relationship between Ukraine and Israel.“
The office of the Prime Minister did not say whether Netanyahu related to the president Knesset Member Danny Danon’s request that Ukraine cooperate with private efforts to rebury Rabbi Nachman of Breslov in Israel.
Jews were once one of the largest and most important ethnic minority groups in Ukraine, but suffered from intense anti-Semitism, with more than 250,000 being killed in the previous century. The Ukranians cooperated willingly with the Nazis to murder Jews. Despite a revival of Judaism in the country, attacks on Jews and synagogues still are common there.