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One of Ukraine’s chief rabbis thanked President Victor Yuschenko for his plan to combat anti-Semitism.

Rabbi Azriel Chaikin expressed his support for Yuschenko’s initiative to combat xenophobia and anti-Semitism, and called on the president to ensure the safety of the country’s Jews and adopt appropriate legislation.

“I express my blessing to you for your concrete activities against manifestations of xenophobia and anti-Semitism. This is the urgent question today,” Chaikin said in his Nov. 1 letter to Yuschenko Nov. 1, written 10 days after the president met with Jewish leaders in Kiev.

At the meeting, Yuschenko announced his intention to establish a special Ukrainian Security Service department to combat xenophobia and ethnic intolerance, and he called on the Ukrainian parliament to pass a bill criminalizing denial of the Holocaust and Holodomor, the Ukrainian famine.

“It is necessary to adopt or change the legislation to combat anti-Semitism,” Chaikin said.

The rabbi was grateful to Yuschenko as well for his decree to return Torah scrolls from state archives and museums to the Jewish community, and his decision to transfer a historic synagogue building back to the Chernovtzy Jewish community.

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