Red swastikas daubed on Sholem Aleichem statue in Ukraine


(JTA) – A statue of the Yiddish author known as Sholem Aleichem was vandalized in Ukraine by unknown perpetrators who drew swastikas on it.

The incident happened Sunday night in Kyiv, according to Rabbi Mosh Azman, a well-known community leader based in the Ukrainian capital.

He reported the incident to police, who are investigating it but currently have identified no suspects, according to several Ukrainian news sites.

The incident involving the Kyiv statue of the late author, whose real name was Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich and who was born in a town south of Kyiv, is the latest in a string of acts of vandalism against Jewish property in Ukraine in recent months.

In August, at least 20 headstones were damaged at a Jewish cemetery in Svalyava in western Ukraine. In February, unidentified individuals painted anti-Semitic cartoons on a memorial wall in Kolomyya that was made of ancient Jewish headstones destroyed by Soviet authorities.

Last week, the Anti-Defamation League published a poll in which 46 percent of 510 interviewed about Jews agreed with anti-Semitic statements about them. In a previous poll from 2017, only 32 percent agreed with the same statements.

Haim Ben-Yakov, CEO of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, or EAJC, called on Ukrainian law enforcement agencies to “do everything possible to find and prosecute the criminals.” He added that, “It is urgent that we act promptly and decisively in order to avert further escalation of anti-Semitic sentiment in the country.”

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