Ukrainian Jewish activists met to discuss rising anti-Semitism and Ukrainian-Jewish relations.
More than 30 Jewish activists and experts from throughout Ukraine gathered Nov. 23-24 in Kiev for the annual meeting of the Coordinating Council of the Association of Jewish Communities and Organizations of Ukraine, or Vaad, together with the Zionist Federation of Ukraine.
Josef Zissels, a longtime Vaad and Zionist leader in Ukraine, told JTA that there has been a “reduction of [Zionist] activities” in Ukraine. Other participants complained that when Zionist activities did occur, there was little publicity.
“I did not get any information nor see any real action from Zionist organizations in Ukraine in the last two years,” Valery Kontzevich, the Vaad and Zionist Federation representative in Sumy, told JTA.
This year the number of returning Ukrainian emigres decreased nearly 25 percent compared to the previous year, while remigration to Ukraine from Israel increased, the activists noted.
The meeting also addressed the problem of Ukrainian-Jewish relations, including the presentation of national awards to controversial Ukrainians such as Gen. Roman Shukhevich, politician Levko Lukyanenko and parliament member Ivan Spodarenko, as well as the glorifying of World War II nationalist combat units.