Pres. Herzog:
Pres. Herzog: Israel supports diplomatic solution between Ukraine-Russia

President Isaac Herzog meets with Ukrainian counterpart in first State visit of his presidency.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Herzog and Zelensky
Herzog and Zelensky
Iti Ben On/GPO

President Isaac Herzog and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made joint statements to the media after their meeting Tuesday. The visit to Ukraine is Herzog's first State visit as President of Israel,

President Herzog stated: "Thank you, my friend, President Zelensky. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the warm and especially friendly reception on my first state visit as the President of the State of Israel, which is also my first visit to Ukraine. This, in a year in which we mark thirty years of Ukrainian independence. Allow me to say, just at the outset, that of course there are still many open issues on the agenda but in any matter concerning the conflict between you and Russia we always say, consistently, that we believe that a diplomatic solution to the conflict is the correct solution. We shall support it and all efforts to reach a solution."

"I want to congratulate all the people of Ukraine at this significant and important milestone. I would also like to wish us—our two nations, together—early congratulations ahead of the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of relations between Ukraine and Israel, an event that we shall gladly mark toward the end of the year.

"I remember well the cordial and moving encounters between my father—Chaim Herzog, the Sixth President of the State of Israel—and the Ukrainian hero, your first president, Leonid Kravchuk, with the establishment of relations between our countries and during President Kravchuk’s state visit in Israel. These relations—with one of our country’s greatest friends—were important to us then, and they are much more important to us now. Mr. President, I was pleased to invite you on a visit to Israel, in honor of this important event in the history of our countries, and I am glad that you agreed in principle.

"The relationship between us is based on past, present, and future. The Jewish People have a glorious past in this land: some of the greatest Jewish and Israeli characters were born and raised here—religious and spiritual leaders, statesmen, Zionist thinkers, and prominent cultural figures. As you know, even today, many Israelis and Jews all around the world visit Ukraine on journeys to connect with their cultural and religious roots.

"Yet in addition, the Jewish People also have a tragic and painful history here in Ukraine. From pogroms in previous centuries to the horrific massacre at Babi Yar, where we shall both be tomorrow, at the ceremony marking 80 years since the massacre. In my view, this past leads us to the present: a present in which Ukraine bears the important responsibility for the memory and history of the space and culture of the Jewish community that lived here throughout the ages, from the much-needed preservation of Jewish cemeteries to the establishment of memorial centers to commemorate the murdered Jews of Ukraine. These things are essential and worthy of praise, especially since they form the important foundation for a brave partnership—in the here and now—in the war against all forms of antisemitism and the construction of a shared, productive, successful, and promising future!

"I am deeply grateful to you, Mr. President, and to the Ukrainian Parliament, for pushing for the legislation of a law that opposes and combats antisemitism, and also for Ukraine’s decision to refrain from participation at the Durban Conference. We must learn from history; the whole of humanity, and Europe in particular, cannot tolerate any form of antisemitism—not at protests, not in the erasure and denial of history, and not in the glorification of murderous figures from the past.

"Mr. President, I believe that the past and the future are leading us to a terrific shared future between Ukraine and Israel, and that we are at a portentous moment concerning this partnership. The global coronavirus pandemic has proven definitively that no country stands alone and that international partnerships not only address instrumental needs and interests but also underpin the ability of any state to afford normalcy to its citizens. Among other things, we also spoke about expanding our cooperation in the fields of hi-tech, industry, agriculture, and health. I want to thank you, as you noted, for your support in the approval of the pension deal between our countries and for the idea to open hi-tech development centers in our respective embassies.

"I know that I also speak for my friend, senior minister Zeev Elkin, the chairman of the Israeli side of the joint Israeli-Ukrainian intergovernmental committee, and for the whole Israeli Government and the citizens of Israel when I say that I am grateful for your friendship, and that I foresee a future for our countries that upgrades all the existing cooperation between us and continues to deepen and strengthen our two countries’ shared perceptions on a range of important fields, including the economy, technology, academia, energy, agriculture, health, tourism, and so much more. The future of the relations between our countries is already here, and it looks more promising than ever. Thank you again, Mr. President, and I wish the whole of Ukraine a happy thirtieth birthday."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “I am pleased to welcome Your Excellency, President Isaac Herzog, and members of the Israeli delegation on Ukrainian soil. It is very symbolic that your first visit as President is to us, here in Ukraine. I see this as a symbol and a great honor. Israel is a friend and partner of ours in everything concerning diplomacy, trade, security, politics, and humanitarian issues. I am very grateful to the Israeli delegation, which has come to mark 80 years since the tragic massacre at Babi Yar. The memory of the victims is sacred for us, for every Ukrainian. With the President of Israel, we spoke about how a tragedy like the Holocaust must never happen again. I am confident that our meeting will strengthen the partnership between us.”