Ukraine President to push for allowing synagogue construction

Jewish leaders meet Ukrainian President Zelensky, thank him for 'fighting corruption and helping the Jewish community.'

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Duvi Honig in Ukraine
Duvi Honig in Ukraine
Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce

Israeli businessman Yisrael Elhadad of Uman Jerusalem Connections LTD acquired a large parcel of land in Uman, Ukraine, near the gravesite of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. He planned on building a massive Jewish center that would encompass a synagogue for approximately 20,000 worshipers, in addition to a mikvah (ritual bath).

Currently, is no large synagogue in the city, even as tens of thousands of Jews come from around the world for Rosh Hashana. The Uman City Council approved the plans.

However, the Council demanded Elhadad provide a payment of $350,000 to allow the project to proceed. Elhadad refused. The Council then rezoned the property as a public park and began doing site work – effectively confiscating the land from Elhadad and preventing the construction of a synagogue.

Elhadad and several Jewish community leaders from Ukraine then turned to the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber immediately got to work, reaching out to the highest echelons of the diplomatic world in the US, Israel and Ukraine.

Last Thursday, Duvi Honig, Founder and CEO of The Chamber, led a delegation to Uman to gain a firsthand view of the site in question.

Subsequently, Mr. Honig held a press conference in Kiev at the Interfax News Agency headquarters, which was attended by dozens of news agencies and followed closely by aides to Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky.

Mr. Honig pleaded with the President, who is Jewish, to keep his promise to enable to rise of “Little Jerusalem” in Uman, adding, “There may be a good wave of investments that can help Uman and Ukraine prosper…But this may not happen because of corruption.”

Three days later, on Monday, President Zelensky held a face-to-face meeting with Mr. Honig to discuss the crisis in Uman, shortly before the President held his first-ever meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials.

President Zelensky took the issue of Uman very seriously, promising to get to the bottom of the matter and allow the land's rightful owner to construct a synagogue as planned. The President also sent a delegation of top aides to Uman to address local officials, sharing developments with members of the Israeli delegation.

“I would like to thank President Zelensky for his swift action and determination to fight corruption and help the Jewish community; and we look forward to a quick resolution of this matter,” said Mr. Honig. “It is an honor that the Chamber has once again served as a vehicle to fight on behalf of Jewish community business and communal interests and forge mutually beneficial relationships - around the world.”




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