Jewish Agency Promises Emergency Assistance for Ukrainian Jews

Aid will come from agency's Emergency Assistance Fund for Jewish Communities, which was established after a 2012 terror attack in France.

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The Jewish Agency will extend immediate emergency assistance to the Jewish community of Ukraine and will help secure Jewish institutions in the country, chairman Natan Sharansky said on Saturday night.

Sharansky did not specify what form the assistance will take. Jewish leaders in Ukraine have voiced concerns about the community's security due to the current uprising and the violence of the last few days.

Last week, Ukrainian Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman, called on Kiev's Jews to leave the city and even the country, if possible, Israeli daily Maariv reported on 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."

Speaking to the Jewish Agency leadership, Sharansky said that the organization is "in constant contact with the leadership of the Ukrainian Jewish community and are following the events closely. The Jewish Agency's assistance aims to increase security at Jewish communal institutions in Ukraine," Sharansky said.

The immediate assistance will come from The Jewish Agency's Emergency Assistance Fund for Jewish Communities, which was established in the wake of a 2012 terror attack in Toulouse, in which a Jewish teacher and three Jewish schoolchildren were murdered.

It provides financial assistance to Jewish communities that have security concerns, strengthening security measures and helping to ensure that Jewish life takes places in safety. The fund has thus far extended some $4 million in financial assistance, helping to ensure the security of some 50 communities in 25 countries, including communities in South Africa, Greece, Brazil, Argentina, and elsewhere.

The Ukrainian Jewish community is one of the largest in the world, with some 200,000 members. Most Jews reside in the capital, Kiev, and there are thriving communities in Odessa, Lvov, and Dnepropetrovsk.

Protestors listen to Ukrainian opposition icon Yulia Tymoshenkoin in Kiev on Saturday night.Credit: AFP

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