Photo Credit: Mendy Hechtman / Flash 90
Jewish mother and child walk through a field in the town of Haditch, Ukraine.

Jews in Ukraine are without one of their life-saving Hatzolah ambulances after an arsonist targeted the vehicle Sunday.

Preliminary findings by police after the overnight destruction pointed to an anti-Semitic attack that badly damaged the vehicle and its equipment.

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The ambulance is well known in the city – as is the Jewish community it serves, according to police who spoke with media.

It’s not the first time anti-Semites have targeted Hatzolah Ukraine. One year ago, the head of Hatzolah emergency services in the country, Rabbi Hillel Cohen, was beaten and stabbed in the capital city of Kiev by two young men who spoke Russian. The two called him a “zid” — the derogatory Russian slur for “Jew” — and other gutteral words that were unclear. A young couple was also assaulted that same night on their way to the synagogue, a Friday night.

The burned ambulance has been key in accommodating the tens of thousands who visit Uman on their annual pilgrimage to the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov for Rosh Hashana.

Rabbi Cohen and other officials have united with the heads of the Ukraine Jewish Committee and Euro-Asian Jewish Congress in speaking with local officials about the attack and its implications for the community.

The ambulance had served the Jewish community for a number of years; it was also used to escort visiting Jewish groups from the State of Israel and others from abroad. There is now some discussion about the possibility of replacing the vehicle with two new ambulances.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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