Ukraine's Babi Yar Holocaust memorial vandalized, again
A memorial to the Jews killed in Ukraine's Babi Yar ravine was set on fire Sunday, the sixth time in the past year, local and Israeli media reported Wednesday.
The vandalism, which took place on the first night of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, saw "assailants put tires around the menorah, poured an inflammatory liquid over them and set them alight," the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group reported.
An estimated 33,771 Jews were killed at the Babi Yar ravine in a two-day massacre by German forces and Ukrainian collaborators in September 1941.
The memorial's menora, a seven-branched lampstand used in the ancient Tabernacle in the desert and Temple in Jerusalem, was seen covered in soot and blackened in photos posted on the Evreimir (Jewish World) website.
A number of Ukrainian Jewish leaders condemned the insufficient presence of police of the site, saying in a joint statement that "to everyone’s outrage, public authorities and law enforcement agencies have not taken during this time of effective measures to prevent attacks on the landmark.
Sunday's incident is the sixth incident in the past year, and was targeted another three times in 2014. According to the Euro- Asian Jewish Congress, which tracks anti-Semitic activity in Ukraine, it also is very similar to another vandalism at a Holocaust memorial in the southeastern Ukrainian town of Melitopol last month.
But, the most recent incident was "probably the worst," Eduard Dolinsky of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee was quoted by The Jerusalem Post as saying, calling on "all Jewish organizations to meet and work out [a] united response."
-Widespread anti-semitism in the Ukraine-
According to The Jerusalem Post, Josef Zissels of the Vaad of Ukraine said that the vandalism at Babi Yar was possibly done to provoke and discredit the Ukraine as part of its ongoing conflict with pro-Russian separatists in the east.
Anti-Semitic sentiment remains widespread in Ukraine, where leaders are commonly labelled as Jewish by those seeking to discredit them.
Ukraine's pro-Russian rebel chief in February branded the country's leaders "miserable" Jews in an apparent anti-Semitic jibe.
Alexander Zakharchenko, leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, claimed that Kiev's pro-Western leaders were "miserable representatives of the great Jewish people".
"I can't remember a time when Cossacks were led by people who have never held a sword in their hands," Zakharchenko told a press conference in the eastern rebel stronghold of Donetsk, in a reference to Ukraine's nationalist forebears, the Cossacks.
Zakharchenko said that the country's historical nationalists "would turn in their graves if they could see who is running Ukraine."
According to the Jewish Agency, the number of Jews emigrating to Israel from the Ukraine jumped by 142 percent in 2014 compared to 2013.
A total of 762 Jews from Ukraine arrived in Israel in the first four months 2014, compared to 315 in the first quarter of 2013, a spokesman for the quasi-government agency said.
You need to be logged in in order to post comments. Sign up or log in
There are no neo-nazis in Eukrainia!