The Ukrainian government strongly condemns any manifestations of antisemitism and wants Israelis to visit Ukraine. This was stated by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.
According to the President, every year the city of Uman welcomes tens of thousands of visitors from around the world, including Israel and the United States. But this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, restrictions on movement are being introduced in the world.
“We do everything to welcome our guests in the best possible conditions. Unfortunately, this year, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, we had to implement very strict policies at the request of Israel to ensure the safety of both the citizens of Ukraine and our visitors coming from all around the world. I am really sorry that it led to unpleasant consequences for the pilgrims. We all need to have both patience and tolerance in these strange times. We are all adjusting to new ways of doing things that have never had to be done before,” the President noted.
He added that protecting the health of foreign guests and Ukrainian citizens remains a top priority during the pandemic.
The President stressed that despite the temporary measures taken to combat COVID-19, visitors from Israel and around the world will always be welcomed in Ukraine and in Uman in particular.
Answering questions about anti-Semitic attacks against Hasidic Jews in Uman and the possibility of further rise in anti-Semitism in Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that close cooperation and coordination with local authorities and representatives of the Jewish community in Ukraine and Uman is carried out to protect pilgrims.
“We strongly condemn anti-Semitic attacks of any kind. Antisemitism is a poison that has no place in Ukraine. And in this case, we have encountered many disinformation campaigns, as our Israeli partners know. We respond to every possible case of aggression on an anti-Semitic background. Meanwhile, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center in 2018, Ukraine is the country in Eastern Europe with the lowest rate of antisemitism. This is encouraging, but obviously we always need to do more, and we must and will remain extremely vigilant,” the President emphasized.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that having Jewish roots he himself has never been the target of anti-Semitic remarks in Ukraine, either during the election campaign or after his election as President.
“Ukrainian people do not care whether their President is Jewish, Christian or Muslim, as long as he defends the interests of the Ukrainian people,” he stressed.