17:09 06.05.2019

Zelensky asks Rabbis to support his initiative on dialogue with residents of Russia-occupied Donbas, Crimea

2 min read
Zelensky asks Rabbis to support his initiative on dialogue with residents of Russia-occupied Donbas, Crimea

President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky during a meeting with Rabbis from across Ukraine has asked them to support his initiative to develop a dialogue with residents of Russia-occupied territories in Donbas and Crimea.

"I have met with representatives of various religions and cultures. And today I appeal to you to support our idea of fostering dialogue with residents of Russia-occupied territories in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. We don't want to lose touch with these people, because all of them are Ukrainians, our fellow citizens," Zelensky said.

Zelensky's press service said the president-elect on Monday met with representatives of the Council of Rabbis of Ukraine, including Chief Rabbi of Dnipro and Dnipropetrovsk region Shmuel Kaminetsky (central Ukraine); Chief Rabbi of Kharkiv and Kharkiv region, Moshe Moskovitz (eastern Ukraine), Chief Rabbi of Odesa and southern Ukraine Abraham Wolf, Chief Rabbi of Zhytomyr and western Ukraine Shlomo Wilhelm; Donbas Chief Rabbi Pinchas Vyshetsky, and Chief Rabbi of Ukraine and Kyiv Moshe Reuven Azman.

Chief Rabbi of Donbas Vyshetsky, who lived in Donetsk for a long time, said the proposed initiative is correct and will be effective.

"Even a little light drives away a lot of darkness. There are three main factors for the success of your government: justice, honesty, and peace. Never do what you do not want to be done to you. That is the main rule," he noted.

Participants of the meeting discussed the fight against anti-Semitism. They said today this problem is not acute as in other countries of the world. Every year more than 800,000 pilgrims come to Ukraine where 150 Jewish religious leaders were buried.

"There are now at least half a million Jews in Ukraine, people for whom Ukraine is their native land, which they love. And we dream that life in Ukraine should be decent and happy for all people. There is no contradiction in being Jewish and being a patriot of Ukraine," Rabbi Kaminetsky said.

Guests at the meeting presented Zelensky with an exclusive edition of the Torah.

As reported, on April 30, Zelensky met with head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Epiphanius, Honorary Patriarch of Kyiv and All Russia-Ukraine Filaret and Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) Metropolitan Onufriy.

On May 2, Zelensky met with the spiritual leaders of Ukraine's Muslim community.

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