The Chief Rabbi of Ukraine called on Russian Jews and non-Jews to protest the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, and cursed Russians who remain silent and ‘complicit’ in the war.
“I’m recording this appeal for the rabbis of Russia, for the Jews of Russia, and simply, to Russian people with one message: stop the war. Don’t believe what they tell you on television, they’re lying. There are war crimes being committed here,” said Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman, the Chief Rabbi of Ukraine and a member of the Chabad movement.
In a video statement released Wednesday, Rabbi Azman lamented the plight of Ukrainian civilians, saying that many were suffering from shortages of food and medicine, along with the artillery and air attacks by the Russian military.
“The Russian army which beat the Nazis in 1941 is today bombing Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa – civilian populations!”
“Yesterday, Jews and non-Jews from all over Kyiv called me asking for humanitarian help. Every day I’m working to help innocent civilians and residents; old people, women and children – grandmothers are calling me saying they are going to die if they don’t get their medication, mothers call me telling me that their children are suffering because of the bombings and lack of food.”
“Our volunteers face life-threatening danger. But I haven’t left, I’m still here, because I care and I will not abandon my community. I am the Chief Rabbi of Ukraine.”
“I have been silent for a long time, but I cannot stay silent any longer. Dear Russians, dear Jews – all people who are not indifferent:
“Remember, that he who does not care and he who agrees silently, is an accomplice in this crime. A war crime! A crime against humanity! I’m not saying it based on the television, I’m telling you what I see here.”
“I never thought even in my worst nightmare that I might have to perish under the shells of Russia here, where I was born, where I went to school, where I have many friends.”
“People call from all over the world, Jews and non-Jews. Even Arabs call me from Israel and support me.”
“When the Israeli army fires a missile, they use a high-precision missiles…so that, God-forbid, civilians won’t be harmed.”
“But here? Watch the videos. You’re not shown this. They shoot with Grad. Grads are not high-precision weapons. Grads, tanks, ballistic missiles, airplanes. What’s going on? War. War! People, wake up, I beg you.”
“If, God-forbid, I have to die, may those remain silent and complicit in this terrible crime be cursed.”