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Ukrainians block property’s return

MOSCOW, Oct. 26 (JTA) – Officials in the western Ukrainian city of Lvov are refusing to return a building that previously belonged to the Jewish community. The officials claim that giving the property to the city’s Center for Judaica and Jewish Education would grant “privileges to one nationality” and would, therefore, run counter to the country’s Constitution. In a related development, the Council of National Societies, Ukraine’s umbrella organization for minority groups, has called on Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma to intervene on behalf of the Jewish community to obtain the return of a number of synagogues. The council says local officials in several Ukrainian cities have been reluctant to return properties that were owned by the Jewish community before being nationalized by the Communists in the 1920s and 1930s.