Unidentified individuals hurled firebombs at the gravesite of a Hasidic luminary in the central Ukrainian city of Shpola.
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The incident in the city located 120 miles south of the capital, Kiev, occurred on Sunday evening, according to Eduard Dolinsky, director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee. Dolinsky wrote on Facebook Monday that the perpetrators intentionally tried to set on fire a structure built near the gravesite of Aryeh Leib, who died in 1811 and was an important disciple of Dov Ber of Mezeritch, an influential 18th-century Hasidic rabbi.
Separately, approximately 200 people in the west Ukrainian city of Ternopil presented local authorities with a petition to remove from the city’s coat of arms a star shape they said was a Jewish symbol – the Star of David.
The coat of arms of Ternopil features a fortress above the star shape, which has six points and comprises 12 triangles – half of them khaki colored and the rest blank. Under the star is a horizontal crescent, divided into a khaki half and a blank one. The shield bearing those symbols is crowned by the Ukrainian trident — the Sign of Princely State of Volodymyr the Great, which is the main national symbol and the country’s coat of arms.
The petitioners demanded the city “replace the Jewish Star of David with the traditional Ukrainian octagon” and “complement the star and crescent with a Christian cross, which must go back to the top of the trident,” the news website Ukraina Moloda reported Friday.
They cited the writings of a Ukrainian fundamentalist Christian who said the Star of David is “associated with the symbol of the antichrist.”