Ukrainian Rabbi Tells Kiev's Jews to Flee City

Fearing violence against Ukraine's Jews, the Jewish community asks Israel for assistance with the security of the community.

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Haaretz
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Haaretz

Ukrainian Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman, called on Kiev's Jews to leave the city and even the country if possible, fearing that the city's Jews will be victimized in the chaos, Israeli daily Maariv reported Friday.

"I told my congregation to leave the city center or the city all together and if possible the country too," Rabbi Azman told Maariv. "I don't want to tempt fate," he added, "but there are constant warnings concerning intentions to attack Jewish institutions."

According to the paper's report Azman closed the Jewish community's schools but still holds three daily prayers. He said the Israeli embassy told members of the Jewish community to avoid leaving their homes.

Edward Dolinsky, head of the umbrella organization of Ukraine's Jews described the situation in Kiev as dire, telling Maariv "We contacted Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman requesting he assist us with securing the community."

Protesters in the Ukrainian capital claimed full control of the city Saturday following the signing of a Western-brokered peace deal aimed at ending the nation's three-month political crisis.

President Viktor Yanukovych is still in Ukraine, a senior security source told Reuters on Saturday following reports his residence was empty and unguarded and his Kiev offices were in the hands of protesters.

Correction (Feb. 22, 4:20 P.M.): An earlier version of this report incorrectly described Rabbi Azman as the chief rabbi of Ukraine. Azman is not the country's chief rabbi, but one of two rabbis challenging the official chief rabbi, Yaakov Bleich, in Kiev.

Protesters stand guard in front of presidential administrative building in central Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. Credit: AP

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