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March 13, 2022 5:56 pm
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Zelensky Seeking to Hold Pro-Ukraine Rally, Speech at Yad Vashem: Report

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a video address in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 6, 2022 in this still image taken from video. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

Embattled Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is seeking to hold a rally for Ukraine at Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum, during which he would speak to the crowd via video, Hebrew-language media reported Sunday.

Ukraine’s Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Kornichuk met Sunday with Yad Vashem’s Chairman Dani Dayan to personally request permission for the rally, according to  Israeli news site Walla.

Kornichuk said Zelensky wants to speak at Yad Vashem because he is Jewish and because he considers the Russian invasion of Ukraine a genocide.

According to Walla, Dayan expressed support for Ukraine at the meeting, but deemed that holding a political event at Yad Vashem would be inappropriate. He also objected to the claim that the invasion of Ukraine is analogous to the Holocaust, and felt Yad Vashem should not be seen as supporting such a comparison.

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The Yad Vashem memorial has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as the “trivialization and distortion” of the Holocaust employed by the Kremlin. Russian propaganda in service of its war effort has depicted Ukrainian leaders, including Zelensky, as Nazi sympathizers.

Zelensky has previously sought, and still seeks, to address the Knesset from the house plenum, but instead was offered to meet via video conference with Knesset members.

Kornichuk will reportedly tell Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy that Zelensky will not accept any forum except the Knesset plenum, Walla reported.

One alternative for Zelensky is an offer from Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai to deliver a video speech at the city’s HaBima Square, a frequent site for rallies and protests.

According to a senior Ukrainian official, Zelensky wants to speak directly to the Israeli people in hopes they will push their government to adopt a more pro-Ukraine stance.

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