Kiev's Jews told to fleevisited Kiev and the Ukraine with one of my children in late September. A lot has changed since then, and now a rabbi in Kiev has urged his congregants to flee the city and the country, if possible.
Ukrainian Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman, called on Kiev's Jews to leave the city and even the country if possible, fearing that the city's Jews will be victimized in the chaos, Israeli daily Maariv reported Friday.
"I told my congregation to leave the city center or the city all together and if possible the country too," Rabbi Azman told Maariv. "I don't want to tempt fate," he added, "but there are constant warnings concerning intentions to attack Jewish institutions."
According to the paper's report Azman closed the Jewish community's schools but still holds three daily prayers. He said the Israeli embassy told members of the Jewish community to avoid leaving their homes.
Edward Dolinsky, head of the umbrella organization of Ukraine's Jews described the situation in Kiev as dire, telling Maariv "We contacted Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman requesting he assist us with securing the community."President Viktor Yanukovich fled his residence and the city earlier on Saturday, but he did not succeed in fleeing the country. Meanwhile, former President Yulia Tymoshenko was released from three years of detention on Saturday. Tymoshenko, who is aligned with Russia, has been accused of anti-Semitism in the past.
But note this correction at the end of the Haaretz piece quoted above.
Correction (Feb. 22, 4:20 P.M.): An earlier version of this report incorrectly described Rabbi Azman as the chief rabbi of Ukraine. Azman is not the country's chief rabbi, but one of two rabbis challenging the official chief rabbi, Yaakov Bleich, in Kiev, and like most Chabad rabbis, is aligned with the Kremlin.Hmmm.