One of Ukraine’s Chief Rabbis, Moshe Reuven Asman, urged Jews to leave capital city Kiev following a reported anti-Semitic attack on two Chabad yeshiva students in the city last month, Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported.
“I told my community to get out of the city and if possible out of the state…there are many warnings about planned attacks against Jewish institutions,” Asman said, adding, “We have been told by the Israeli Embassy to not go outside.”
Many members of Kiev’s Jewish community live within walking distance of the main square in the city that has recently become the focus of anti-government riots, according to Ma’ariv.
In recent days, chaos has gripped the area following the escalation of violence between government security forces and members of the opposition, with institutions around the city closing and subways no longer operating.
While Chief Rabbi Asman has been forced to close down the city’s Jewish schools, he continues to conduct three prayer services daily in his synagogue, Ma’ariv said.
“The situation here is dire,” said Yossi Asman, a Chabad yeshiva student and son of the chief rabbi. “We have been gathering up families and shuttling them out to safer neighborhoods.”
Edward Dolinsky, head of the umbrella organization responsible for Ukraine’s Jews, said the city’s dwindling food supply has provoked a state of panic among Kiev’s inhabitants.
“We have appealed to [Israeli] Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to please help us protect our community,” Dolinsky added.