Kharkiv Mayor Works From Hospital Bed While Recovering in Israel

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Kharkiv mayor Hennady Kernes speaks at the congress of provincial lawmakers and officials in the Ukrainian eastern city of Kharkiv, Saturday, Feb. 22. 2014. Credit: AP

Hennady Kernes, the Jewish mayor of Kharkiv in the Ukraine who is recovering from surgery in a Haifa hospital after being shot while jogging at the start of the month, has been working from his hospital bed, the Chabad website reported.

He has been reportedly having daily phone conversations with his administration back home.

"I visited him in Israel on Monday, and we spent two hours together,” Rabbi Moshe Moskovitz, Kharkov’s chief rabbi and Chabad emissary, was quoted in the report as saying. “We put on tefillin and prayed, he said some tehillim [psalms], and he thanked everyone who has been praying for his recovery. He realizes that he survived because of a miracle.”

Kernes, 54, turned against his former Russian backers and began siding with Ukrainian nationalists following the February coup in Kiev. The shooting came a day after Ukrainian nationalists clashed with pro-Russian protesters in Kharkiv, leaving 14 people injured.

Kernes is Jewish, but there has been no mention of an anti-Semitic motive in the shooting.

“He’s happy that he’s in Israel right now, but he really wants to be back in Kharkov,” Moskovitz was quoted as saying. “The doctors are not saying when that will be able to happen, but they are very positive he will get better.”

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