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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

Ukraine Chief Rabbi Accuses Russians of Antisemitic ‘Provocations’

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, one of the two chief rabbis of the Ukraine (the other one is Rabbi Azriel Chaikin), accused Russia of staging antisemitic “provocations” in Crimea in order to justify its invasion of the former Soviet republic.

At a press conference in the Manhattan office of the United Jewish Communities of Eastern Europe, Bleich compared Russia’s behavior to that of the Nazis prior to the Anschluss invasion of Austria in 1938.

“Things may be done by Russians dressing up as Ukrainian nationalists,” he said, adding that it’s “the same way the Nazis did when they wanted to go into Austria and created provocations.”

Bleich, a vice president of the World Jewish Congress, also announced the creation of an aid effort, KievRelief.org, to fund security for synagogues and mosques and to provide humanitarian relief for all Ukrainians.

Bleich, who moved to Ukraine in 1989 from Brooklyn, was slated, along with other Ukrainian political and religious leaders, to meet with Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday. He said he will urge Kerry to be assertive with Russian President Vladimir Putin, to move the G8 Summit to Kiev, as a show of solidarity with Ukrainians, and to consider sending military support to Ukraine. While acknowledging that Americans are “war-weary,” he said Ukrainians need “boots on the ground to protect democracy” and to prevent “the cold war from getting hot.”

Asked about antisemitism among Ukrainian nationalists, particularly two far-right parties that have been included in the new government, Bleich acknowledged concerns but said the Jewish community has received assurances from top government leaders that their safety will be protected.

“The Russians are blowing this way, way out of proportion,” he said, referring to the issue of anti-Semitism among some Ukrainian nationalist factions.

He said that Ukrainians were united in response to the Russian intervention.

“There were many differences of opinion throughout the revolution, but today all that is gone,” he said. “We’re faced by an outside threat called Russia. It’s brought everyone together.”

Security Cams Show Moment Russians Take Crimean Government Building

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

Security camera footage uploaded by Reuters show the moment armed men seized a government building in the Crimean city of Simferopol.

On Saturday, Russian armed forces occupied Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, after the Russian Parliament authorized President Vladimir Putin to use military force in order to control the chaos in the Ukraine.

On Friday, President Barack Obama used strong language to warn Russia against invading Ukrainian territory, saying: “We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine … Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing, which is not in the interests of Ukraine, Russia or Europe. It would represent a profound interference in matters that must be determined by the Ukrainian people.

“It would be a clear violation of Russia’s commitment to respect the independence and sovereignty and borders of Ukraine, and of international laws.”

The authorization given by the Russian parliament was based on a threat to the lives of Russian citizens and soldiers stationed in Crimea and other parts of Ukraine, essentially thumbing Russia’s nose at the American president.

According to the Reuters, heavily armed soldiers had tightened their grip on the Crimean capital, Simferopol on Thursday night, even before Putin’s statement in Moscow. The Russians surrounded government buildings, as can be sen in the video below, shuttered the airport, and blocked city streets.


Falling Red Star Marks End of an Era in Ukraine (Video)

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Anti-Yanukovych workers jubilantly removed a replica of the Russian Red Star from Ukraine’s parliament building Tuesday.

“The Soviet star has been cut off,” said Ruslan Koshulinsky, the deputy speaker of parliament.

The star is similar to those on buildings in Russia and countries from the former Soviet Union.

Ukraine is still trying to put things back in order after the ouster of Viktor Yanukovych, and presidential elections are scheduled for May 25.

The video below shows workers taking off the star.

Kerry Protests while Kiev Burns (Video)

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Kiev turned into a bloodbath Thursday, with anywhere from 70 to more than 100 killed and dozens of policeman kidnapped by protesters.

The violence, similar to that in Egypt, Syria and other countries where social protests quickly turned into street battles and all-out war between regimes and demonstrators, has again left the Obama administration looking weak.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last December protested the violence of government forces against protesters and failed earlier this month in his intervention to solve the political crisis that has exploded into deadly street battles.

The European Union has voted for sanctions against the government, and the United States has issued a visa ban on 20 senior government members considered responsible for the attacks on anti-government protesters.

Kerry last December expressed “disgust” at the violence, and now Vice President Joe Biden this week announced his “grave concern.

“We call for utmost restraint,” said Kerry. “Human life must be protected. Ukrainian authorities bear full responsibility for the security of the Ukrainian people. As church bells ring tonight amidst the smoke in the streets of [Kiev], the United States stands with the people of Ukraine. They deserve better.”

The State Dept. just doesn’t get it that no one really is listening to what he has to say.

Rabbi Finds 103 Torah Scrolls Stolen from Jews in Hungary

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

A senior Hungarian rabbi said Tuesday he has found 103 Torah scrolls that were stolen from Hungarian Jews in World War II and hidden in a Russian library in Novgorod, east of Moscow.

Russia has not decided what to do with the holy scrolls, which Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation Chief Rabbi Shlomo Koves wants to restore for Jews in Hungary. The Nazi death machine exterminated more than half a million Jews from Hungary, virtually destroying most Jewish communities outside of Budapest.

It was previously known that Russia had stored more than 100 religious texts, some of them more than 500 years old, in the library. Rabbi Koves discovered the Torah scrolls during research at the Novgorod library.

He told a press conference on Tuesday that signs showing the origin of the scrolls have been removed but that he is certain they were stolen from synagogues in Hungary.

“I think it’s the first time in history when such a large collection of Judaica with 100 Torah scrolls in one place was discovered,” Rabbi Koves said. “For seven decades they have been laying naked in those archives, while their only value is for a Jewish community to see them and use them every day.

“And the fact that those scrolls are from Hungary has a special significance this year, which is the 70th year from 1944 when most Hungarian Jews were deported to Auschwitz. For us, finding these Torah scrolls that were connected to our forefathers has a great significance of showing continuity in this community.”

Russia Buying Out US Influence with $2 Billion Arms Deal for Egypt

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Egyptian army chief and probable next president, Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, landed in Moscow Wednesday and is expected to sign up with Russia for a $2 million arms deal in another move that could diminish American influence over Cairo as well as the entire Middle East.

After the Obama administration openly warned the Egyptian regime last year,it could face cuts in military aid from Washington because of its undemocratic policies, Saudi Arabia stepped into the break to offer help to Egypt.

The United States pooh-poohed the idea that it was losing its clout in Cairo, but Russia now is set to take advantage of Saudi financial aid to Egypt and boost its defense sales and to further erode the Obama administration’s position.

Al-Sisi’s is on his first foreign visit since he replaced ousted president Mohammed Morsi. Russia’s foreign and defense ministers visit Cairo last November.

Russia has become a major thorn in the side of President Barack Obama over Syria and Iran. At the same time, the Arab world is increasingly fed up with the president’s foreign policy. Obama’s “engagement” with Iran has disappointed Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The former American administrations’ military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan have left behind anarchy, violence and rabid anti-Americanism.

It is no wonder that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is willing to go for broke for a deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. That would restore America’s shine to some extent, but if a deal is made, which is unlikely, and if it falls apart in the future, which is more than probably, the United States will be in a weaker position in the Middle East.

Abbas Asks Russia for Billion Dollar Gas Project Off Gaza Coast

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Palestinian Authority  chairman Mahmoud Abbas asked Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev Thursday to invest in a $1 billion natural gas project off the coast of Hamas-controlled Gaza, Russia’s news agency reported.

Abbas is vesting Moscow, which has been a strong backer of the Palestinian Authority.

Securing a huge investment for Gaza would help Abbas win popularity at the expense of Hamas, which took over the area in a bloody militia war nearly seven years ago.

Sharon to be Commemorated in Belarus, Birthplace of his Parents

Monday, January 13th, 2014

The Limmud FSU (Former Soviet Union) announced Monday that the upcoming Limmud FSU conference in Belarus this summer will feature a special event in memory of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, whose parents were born in Belarus. The event will take place in Sharon’s father’s hometown city of Brest, and Sharon’s sons Omri and Gilad, are expected to be invited.

Officials from the Belarus and Israeli governments will attend, and approximately 700 Russian-speaking young adults from across Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and the Baltic states are expected to attend.

Sharon’s parents were Shmuel Scheinerman (1896–1956) from Brest-Litovsk and Vera Scheinerman (1900–1988) from Mogilev; both towns are in what was then Belorussia and is now Belarus. The family immigrated to mandatory Palestine in 1922 in the wake of the growing persecution of Jews in the region by the local Communist authorities.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/sharon-to-be-commemorated-in-belarus-birthplace-of-his-parents/2014/01/13/

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