'We have to stand united to protect our democratic values'

President Rivlin meets with Ukraine PM, speaks about national tragedies and the two countries' future relationship.

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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Ukraine Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Ukraine Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman
Mark Neiman (GPO)

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Monday morning met at his residence Ukraine Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman at the President's Residence in Jerusalem.

Groysman is currently on an official visit to Israel, accompanied by a delegation of government ministers who are participating in a wider set of G2G meetings with their Israeli counterparts.

"It is a real pleasure and honor to host you here in Jerusalem the capital city of Israel," Rivlin said. "I really believe that in order to bring a new era of understanding between our two peoples, we have to recognize the past."

"We appreciate very much what you are doing against hatred, against, fascism, and against anti-Semitism."

Rivlin also praised the growing cooperation and partnership between Israel and the Ukraine, and said he hoped that these good relationships would be expanded.

Groysman thanked Rivlin for his welcome and said, "We are here to develop even better relationship with our friend Israel, and to deepen our strategic partnership."

He also noted that the two countries had last year celebrated 25 years of diplomatic relations.

"This visit should be another step in the development of that friendship," Groysman added.

"We have just returned from a visit to Yad Vashem," Groysman told Rivlin. "It was a tragic page in history and is directly related to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, and we are proud to have had 2,500 ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ who represented Ukraine."

"It was a really tragedy, the murder of six million Jews just for being Jews, and this horrible figure includes 1.5 million children," he added, noting he had been particularly moved by his visit to the Children’s Memorial.

"Mr. President, we appreciate your visit to Ukraine to mark the anniversary of the Babi Yar tragedy," Groysman continued. "The site was used to murder Jews and also people of Ukrainian and Roma ethnicity and other ethnicities because fascism and Nazism didn’t spare any ethnic group."

"Today humanity has other challenges facing it, and Ukraine highly values human rights and human life and we have to fight for peace, we have to stand united to protect our democratic values and to protect global peace."

"When we say as Jews ‘never again’, we are not preaching to our people, we learned the lesson, we know what we have to do, we know that the security, and the burden of security," Rivlin said.

"When we are talking about what happened, we have to teach all the people in order that it will not happen again.

"Fascism is a phenomenon, Nazism is a phenomenon, and it was all over Europe, there were a lot of people who thought like the Nazis about the Jews, and every one of us has to learn the lesson for their own people. No one can ignore the facts of history."

The two leaders also spoke about the developments in the region, and about ways to further strengthen the ties between Israel and Ukraine.