(JTA) — “Kill the Jews” was scrawled on a synagogue in the central Ukrainian city of Cherkasy. In a separate incident, a wreath that an Israeli Cabinet minister had placed for Holocaust victims in Kiev was torched.
The graffiti was discovered Wednesday in Cherkasy, Eduard Dolinsky, the director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, wrote on Facebook. In addition to spray-painting the message of incitement to violence against Jews on an external wall, the perpetrators wrote: “Jews annexed Ukraine.”
The vandals used the word “zhyd” for Jews, which many Ukrainian Jews consider derogatory.
Dolinsky sarcastically described the inscription as “traditional congratulations for Purim.”
On Tuesday, Dolinsky wrote that the wreath placed earlier this month by Israel Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked at the Babi Yar Jewish Holocaust monument had been torched hours after she left it there. The attack was the seventh case of vandalism against the monument since 2015. During the Holocaust, Nazis and local collaborators killed some 50,000 Jews there.
Russia and Ukraine have exchanged accusations of anti-Semitism since relations between the countries deteriorated in 2014. That year, protesters brought down the government of former President Viktor Yanukovych, whom critics said was a corrupt Kremlin stooge.
Russia reacted by annexing Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, citing a need to protect minorities, including Jews, from post-revolution Ukraine, which Russia said was led by anti-Semitic fascists. Denying and mirroring the accusation, Ukraine’s new government accused Russia of oppressing its minorities.
In both countries, the number of anti-Semitic incidents reported annually is lower than 50 — a figure which is more than 10 times lower the data from France and Britain.