JERUSALEM (JTA) — Ukrainian Jewish immigrants helped found Israel and make it flourish, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu hosted visiting Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Thursday to discuss expanding cooperation between the countries.
"Ukrainian Jews greatly contributed to the building up and development of the State of Israel at its outset, and to the revival of the Hebrew language," Netanyahu’s office quoted him as telling his guest in a statement issued after the meeting.
"Almost 350,000 newcomers from Ukraine came to Israel in the new wave of immigration in the 1990s, and they are continuing to strengthen and develop the State of Israel."
Bilateral ties apparently have included security cooperation. Israel is prosecuting, on charges of helping Hamas’ rocket program, a Palestinian engineer who claims he was abducted while on a visit to Kiev in February. Ukraine has made little comment on the case, but Netanyahu has said the detention was legally secured.