Israel urges Ukraine to act after anti-Semitic vandalism in Odessa
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Israel urges Ukraine to act after anti-Semitic vandalism in Odessa

Foreign Ministry 'concerned' by spate of graffiti, tells Ukraine to take 'decisive measures' to bring culprits to justice

Brodsky Synagogue in Kiev, Ukraine. (CC BY-SA 3.0 Fedotto/Wikipedia)
Brodsky Synagogue in Kiev, Ukraine. (CC BY-SA 3.0 Fedotto/Wikipedia)

The Foreign Ministry on Wednesday condemned three incidents of anti-Semitic graffiti on Jewish institutions in the city of Odessa in southern Ukraine, and asked Kiev to take “decisive measures” to crack down on these incidents.

The graffiti, including the words “Toasting the Holocaust” on the gate of Odessa’s Holocaust museum, were discovered Monday. The city’s Brodsky Synagogue had the words, “Jews out, Ukraine for Ukrainians,” written on its exterior fence.

An offensive symbol appeared on a gate adjacent to the Beit Grand Jewish Community Center. It and the other two incidents of graffiti at the center featured the symbol of the Azov Battalion, a National Guard of Ukraine regiment that was set up after Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.

“We view these anti-Semitic acts with concern,” the Foreign Ministry said, in a statement. “We expect the Ukrainian government to take the most decisive measures to eradicate anti-Semitism and bring the culprits to justice.”

Last month, an anti-Semitic slur was painted on the wall of a Jewish charity in western Ukraine.

The black graffiti saying, “Death to the kikes” was discovered on the exterior wall of Uzhgorod’s Hesed Shpira charity, which is funded by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Eduard Dolinsky, director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, wrote on Facebook.

The incidents follow several cases of death threats and vandalism against Jewish institutions in western Ukraine, including at cemeteries and synagogues.

The incidents have taken place amid a divisive public debate in Ukraine over the conferring of state honors on nationalists who incited hatred against Jews during the 1930s and 1940s, including for some who collaborated with the Nazis.

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