President Isaac Herzog notes the long history of Jews in Ukraine and cheers the establishment of ties between Israel and the Eastern European country 30 years ago, as he continues his visit to Kyiv.
“The relationship between us is based on past, present, and future. The Jewish People have a glorious past in this land: some of the greatest Jewish and Israeli characters were born and raised here — religious and spiritual leaders, statesmen, Zionist thinkers, and prominent cultural figures,” Herzog says in a statement to the media alongside his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.
Herzog is in Ukraine to mark 80 years since Babi Yar massacre, in which over 33,000 people — most of them Jews — were killed outside Kyiv when it was occupied by the Nazis during World War II.
“The Jewish People also have a tragic and painful history here in Ukraine. From pogroms in previous centuries to the horrific massacre at Babi Yar… In my view, this past leads us to the present: a present in which Ukraine bears the important responsibility for the memory and history of the space and culture of the Jewish community that lived here throughout the ages,” Herzog says.
He thanks Zelensky, who is Jewish, for the Ukrainian parliament’s approval of a law last month outlawing antisemitism.
“We must learn from history; the whole of humanity, and Europe in particular, cannot tolerate any form of antisemitism — not at protests, not in the erasure and denial of history, and not in the glorification of murderous figures from the past,” Herzog says.