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February 27, 2014 7:24 pm

Rabbi Asks Netanyahu, Ya’alon to Send Forces to Protect Ukrainian Jews

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Protesters in Ukraine. Photo: Wikipedia. General Director of the European Jewish Association Rabbi Menachem Margolin asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to send Israeli security forces to protect the Ukrainian Jewish community.

In a letter, Margolin expressed the helplessness experienced by Ukrainian Jews in the wake of a Molotov cocktail attack against a synagogue in Zaporozhye, a phone threat against a rabbi, and anti-Semitic graffiti scrawled in various locations. These incidents, although not directly connected to ongoing protests in Ukraine, came amid the past week’s violence in the country and the toppling of President Viktor Yanukovych.

“Community reports indicate an alarming, and increasingly violent, trend of hatred towards Jewish targets—and so far, there’s been no reaction… The challenge is clear and the State must help to take security measures for what has become a Jewish emergency,” Margolin wrote, Haaretz reported.

In the meantime, interim Ukrainian President Oleksander Tuchynov pledged Wednesday to protect the Ukrainian Jewish community in a meeting with the country’s chief rabbi, Yaakov Dov Bleich, according to Israel Radio. Nevertheless, Margolin in his letter urged Netanyahu and Ya’alon “to take every possible step, including dispatching security guards, to secure the safety of Jewish communities in Ukraine.”

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