Report: As Ukrainian Unrest Unfolds, Anti-Semitism Rises
Hope and uncertainty reign in Kiev Saturday, after the alleged downfall of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. Opposition leaders, declaring that "the dictatorship has fallen," have prepared the populace for the possibility of a batter future.
But one thing is clear: whether or not the protest will ultimately be beneficial for Ukraine as a whole, they have led to a worrying upswing in violence against Ukrainian Jewry.
Arutz Sheva's Russian-language sources reported disturbing facts on the ground Saturday, claiming that the Ukrainian police forces - who are loyal to Yanukovych - have been making open threats against the Jewish community there.
They have also been promoting anti-Semitic propaganda, according to the report.
"The police know that the damage to the Jewish community could ignite harsh reactions from European countries," a source stated to Arutz Sheva Saturday night. "Because of this, senior police forces there are attempting to bring the Jewish community into the turmoil."
The Jewish community itself has been careful to remain neutral in the conflict, sources say, and has refused to take sides for the sake of its own safety.
Recent reports indicated that extremists have been targeting the Jewish community in Ukraine, including a member of the Opposition. However, this is the first time that the police forces themselves have been implicated in anti-Semitic activity.
Anti-Semitism in Ukraine has picked up throughout the unrest, which began in late November. In January, unknown assailants stabbed a hareidi man in Kiev as he was making his way home from synagogue on a Friday night; earlier this week, anti-Semitic graffiti was sprayed on a Holocaust memorial in the city of Alexandria.
Even before the recent unrest, Jews in the Ukraine have been the targets of anti-Semitic acts. Last year, the president of the All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress narrowly escaped with his life after a bomb was hurled at his car as it pulled out from an office.
In the wake of the anti-Semitism, local Jews have been careful not to wear a kippah in public and security has increased at Jewish institutions in the city.