MK: Time to Bring Ukraine Jews Home to Israel
Yesh Atid MK Rina Frankel on Thursday sent an official letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu asking him to initiate an immediate aliyah “rescue effort” for Ukrainian Jewry.
Frankel sent the letter in the wake of the recent unrest in Ukraine, in which former President Viktor Yanukovych was deposed in a popular uprising. The uprising generated large-scale protests – along with numerous anti-Semitic incidents. Over the weekend, when Yanukovych's situation as President was still unclear, Arutz Sheva's Russian-language sources reported that the Ukrainian police forces - who are loyal to Yanukovych - have been making open threats against the Jewish community, and promoting anti-Semitic propaganda.
There have also been several anti-Semitic incidents. Over the weekend, The Giymat Rosa Synagogue in Zaporizhia, located 250 miles southeast of Kiev, was attacked by unknown individuals, Russian news reports said. No one was injured, local authorities said. Minor damages were caused to the building. Photos published by the website showed traces of a fire on the facade a balcony.
Rabbi Hillel Cohen, chairman of Hatzalah Ukraine, told Arutz Sheva that a large group of Polish Jews were miraculously saved from tragedy on Friday. The group called him at his home in Kiev in a panic, saying they were about to be attacked by a large group who apparently took them for Yanukovych supporters. “That attack was prevented miraculously,” he said, “when the Polish Jews convinced the group that they were just visiting, and were not Ukrainians at all.”
Such incidents, said Frankel, were reason enough for Israel to campaign for immigration to Israel among Ukrainian Jewry. Speaking to reporters, Frankel said she moved to Israel in 1990, and that she “felt an obligation to urge the Prime Minister to act.” Organizing such an effort from Israel, she said, would give Jewish organizations in Ukraine a framework to help families make aliyah, and coordinate resources in Israel to help the immigrants when they get here.
“Given the tragic history of Ukrainian Jewry, which is replete with pogroms, murder, and destruction, I think it's fair to say that the Jewish community is currently in great danger. The State of Israel was established on the background of this danger and tragedy. The fact that we are here today is a form of saying 'never again,' and the time has come to translate those words into actions,” she added.