President of Ukraine

Olena Zelenska: Looking at the Jewish people, we believe that we will find justice for the Ukrainian people as well

20 June 2023 - 23:03

Olena Zelenska: Looking at the Jewish people, we believe that we will find justice for the Ukrainian people as well

On the second day of her visit to the State of Israel, the wife of the President of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial Complex in Jerusalem, founded in 1953 to perpetuate the memory of Jewish victims of Nazism.

Together with Dani Dayan, chairman of the board of the complex, and Natan Sharansky, a member of the supervisory board of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, the First Lady of Ukraine took part in the ceremony of commemorating the victims of the Holocaust.

Olena Zelenska and representatives of the Embassy of Ukraine in Israel also launched a Ukrainian audio guide at the Yad Vashem Memorial Complex, the 66th in a series of the First Lady's project to promote the Ukrainian language in world landmarks.

"Each of these guides is not just about convenience for tourists. It is about the fact that the Ukrainian language takes an honorable place in the list of the world's major languages, which are spoken by the most powerful cultural landmarks. It's about the fact that our language is sounding louder and louder, reminding the world of the nation that is fighting for its right to exist right now. So this audio guide also has a worldview function. Looking at the Jewish people, we believe that we will find our justice. And we will also keep with dignity the memory of every Ukrainian whose life was taken by the aggressor," the President's wife emphasized.

In addition, Olena Zelenska, together with Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, took part in the opening of an alley named after the Ukrainian couple Shchepaniuks, Righteous Among the Nations. This honorary title is awarded by the State of Israel to those who saved Jews from extermination in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II.

During the Nazi occupation of Ukraine, Yulia and Roman Shchepaniuk, a couple from Boryslav, Lviv region, hid the Weiss family, a neighboring family, in their home. This lasted until the Nazis were expelled from the city in 1944. After the war, the Weiss family moved to Israel, where one of their sons, Shevah Weiss, became a politician, serving as Speaker of the Knesset and as Ambassador of the State of Israel to Poland.

"There are more than 2600 people in Ukraine recognized as Righteous Among the Nations. And now some of them, like all Ukrainians, are experiencing war and threat. Again. It's scary to realize that this is happening again in their lives, that an entire nation is being destroyed in the middle of Europe again. When evil returns to the world, it is simple human examples like the Shchepaniuks' story that give us hope that there is help, sacrifice, and support in the darkest moment. That every person, every family can resist and eventually win," the First Lady of Ukraine said.

Olena Zelenska also met with the wife of the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Sara Netanyahu. The parties discussed Israel's experience in creating and using an air raid early warning system that allows citizens to be more accurately informed of the danger.

"I also asked for help from Israeli epidemiologists in overcoming the consequences of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant explosion, which threatens the entire country with an environmental disaster. Mrs. Netanyahu is a psychologist by profession and has worked, in particular, with children who have experienced terrible events, such as terrorist attacks, loss of parents, and other situations related to military operations. Therefore, we did not ignore the topic of our children, who were traumatized psychologically and physically by the aggressor, and the ways of their rehabilitation," the First Lady of Ukraine said.