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Ukraine said to ask Yad Vashem to host rally addressed by Zelensky

National memorial reportedly turns down proposal due to concerns comparisons will be drawn between the Russian invasion and the Holocaust

A giant screen shows Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky speaking through a video link to people taking part in a peace rally for Ukraine on March 12, 2022 in Florence (Carlo BRESSAN / AFP)
A giant screen shows Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky speaking through a video link to people taking part in a peace rally for Ukraine on March 12, 2022 in Florence (Carlo BRESSAN / AFP)

Ukraine has reportedly asked to hold a large rally at Yad Vashem that would be addressed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss Russia’s invasion of his country.

According to a Walla news report Sunday, Ukrainian Ambassador Yevgen Korniychuk met on Sunday with the chairman of the Holocaust memorial, Dani Dayan, to request permission for the rally.

According to the report, the ambassador said the event would be attended by Knesset members and various officials and public figures.

Yad Vashem turned down the request due to concerns that comparisons would be drawn between the invasion of Ukraine and the Holocaust, Haaretz reported.

A Ukrainian government source quoted by Walla said that the request stemmed from Zelensky’s intention to speak directly to the people of Israel.

The source said that the Ukrainian leader was hoping that such an event would help sway public opinion further in favor of aiding Ukraine, similar to other addresses he gave to other countries.

Zelensky has also asked to address the Knesset via Zoom, an event that is reportedly being organized.

Head of Yad Vashem Dani Dayan. (Alex Kolomoisky/Yad Vashem)

Citing sources at Yad Vashem, the report said that while Dayan was receptive to the idea, he expressed reservations about holding a political event at Israel’s national Holocaust memorial.

During the meeting, Korniychuk emphasized to Dayan that the speech at Yad Vashem would not be a substitute for the planned address to the Knesset, the report said.

He also noted that Zelensky was interested in speaking at Yad Vashem both because he was Jewish and because he believed that Russia’s actions in Ukraine constitute a genocide.

A Yad Vashem source quoted in the report said that the museum was “uncomfortable” with such terminology, adding that the chances for such an event taking place were low.

Another possible event on the table for Zelensky was proposed to the Ukrainian ambassador by Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, who said that a speech by Zelensky could be projected in a public event at the city’s Habima Square.

No comment was given by the Ukrainian embassy regarding Huldai’s proposal.

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