The Jewish Agency is offering emergency support to the Jewish community in Ukraine, after violent tensions have left many in the region on unsure ground.
“The Jewish community of Ukraine, which counts some 200,000 members, is one of most vibrant Jewish communities in the world, with dozens of active Jewish organizations and institutions,” Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky said Saturday.
“Recent events have shown that we must strengthen these institutions’ security measures. We have a moral responsibility to ensure the safety and security of Ukraine’s Jews.”
To that end, the Jewish organization plans to be in “constant contact” with community leaders in Ukraine, and will provide financial support through its Emergency Assistance Fund.
Dr. Misha Galperin, President and CEO of Jewish Agency International Development, added, “The Jewish Agency had established the Emergency Assistance Fund for Jewish Communities two years ago. We are seeking to replenish the fund now in order to extend additional help to the Ukrainian Jewish communities and strengthen their safety and security measures.”
Meanwhile, the American Jewish Committee praised freedom efforts by the Ukrainian opposition, lauding “peaceful assembly” and the “courageous individuals” behind it.
“In recent weeks, we have issued several statements expressing admiration for those Ukrainians who bravely chose to assert their right to peaceful assembly and protest in challenging the rule of President Viktor Yanukovich, who did a sudden about-face and pulled Ukraine out of an historic deal with the European Union, instead turning his gaze to Moscow,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris.
“We also condemned the government’s use of deadly force in killing scores of dissenting Ukrainians. In the end, remarkably, the protesters prevailed, but we shall long remember those who gave their lives to help achieve this milestone outcome.”
Harris added: “We are fully aware that many challenges remain ahead for the people of Ukraine. They must now seek responsible new leadership to guide the country forward, keep the country geographically intact, ensure full democracy, transparency, and pluralism, overcome economic stagnation and endemic corruption, and steer the country’s foreign policy. And we count on the United States and European Union to seize the opportunity to offer help in stabilizing the situation, providing sustained assistance, and setting guidelines to help foster responsible political and economic stewardship.”