Ukraine Military Chief Urges His Country to Learn From Israel
The commander in chief of Ukraine’s armed forces has urged his country to adopt Israel’s strong emphasis on self-defense in the face of the ongoing Russian invasion, arguing that political conditions in the region require Ukraine to be a “military state.”
Following a meeting with Ukrainian Chief Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman to mark the Jewish Rosh Hashanah holiday, Gen. Valerii Zaluzhny stated that “in the conditions of such a neighborhood, Ukraine should become, by analogy with Israel, a military state.”
Zaluzhny took the opportunity to recall the 81st anniversary of the Babyn Yar massacre of Sept.29-30 1941, when more than 33,000 Jews were executed by Nazi officers at a ravine just outside Kyiv.
“On the day of remembrance of the Babyn Yar tragedy, it is painfully difficult to talk about its repetition in Mariupol, Buchi, Irpin, Izyum and other cities,” Zaluzhny said, referring to the Russian onslaught on several major population centers.
“This war showed who is on the side of good and who is the personification of evil. Rebbe Moshe Reuven Azman clearly says that today it is Russia that is a fascist state. And his authoritative opinion carries a lot of weight in the modern world,” Zaluzhny said.
Zaluzhny added that he and Azman discussed the appointment of a Jewish military chaplain to serve Jewish soldiers fighting with Ukrainian forces. He also emphasized that he was “deeply grateful for the treatment of our wounded soldiers in Israel and the humanitarian aid provided.”
Last week, senior Jewish human rights advocates called for the creation of a special tribunal to prosecute Russian forces for crimes against humanity and war crimes in Ukraine. “This is genocide, because they decided which nation should and which should not exist,” said Natan Sharansky, the former head of the Jewish Agency and a leading “refusenik” during the Soviet era.
Meanwhile, the Israeli government said on Monday that it was preparing for a fresh wave of Jewish immigrants from Ukraine and especially Russia, as a result of President Vladimir Putin’s general mobilization announced last week.
Announcing an aid package of $25 million, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said the Jewish state was preparing for the arrival of “tens of thousands of new repatriates in the coming months.”
“We are preparing for this and welcome it,” Lapid said.