Chief Rabbi Bleich: Stay Away from Kiev Protests


rabbi-yaacov-dov-bleichThe chief rabbi of Ukraine has issued a warning to the Jews in his country: Be vigilant, stay away from the protests and avoid the center of Kiev.

Rabbi Yaacov Dov Bleich addressed the delicate situation of Ukraine’s 200,000-strong Jewish community during an interview Sunday night on Aaron Klein’s WABC Radio show in New York City.

Bleich said he told the Jewish community to “stay away from points of danger, stay away from the center where demonstrations were taking place.”

“We have a very, very large community of young families with children who are living in Kiev,” he said. “There is no question about it: The Jewish community needs to stay vigil(ant) and see what is going to be.”

Bleich continued: “Jews are members of civil society in Ukraine. We are a minority. We have been living there peacefully throughout the last 22-years of Ukrainian independence. We want to continue. The community is developing. We want to feel safe. We want to feel protected. We don’t want to have to worry about attacks no matter where they are coming from or who is orchestrating them.”

Klein asked Rabbi Bleich about some reports of extremists among the ranks of the Ukrainian opposition.

The rabbi affirmed the majority of the protesters are “grassroots, regular everyday old people from Ukraine that were fed up with living in a corrupt society, and they came out to protest against it to try to make change and they were successful in making change.”

“That’s the majority,” he maintained. “They are not anti-Semites. They are not right-wing nationalist neo-fascists or Nazis the way the Russians are trying to paint them.”

Bleich said, however, there is an element among the opposition, including some within the nationalist Svoboda party, “who [have] among its rank-and-file members nationalists, some of them are neo-Nazis or neo-fascists, people who are not embarrassed to say they hate Jews. … They are a minority. They are there.”

Read more at WORLD NET DAILY.

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  1. Rabbi Bleich is a long time servant of world Jewry and is due much honor for his dedication and holy work. The statements herein quoted are fine-tuned and in-focus. However, Rabbi Bleich should have been more reticent in his recent statement, now moot, of President Viktor Yanukovych, now deposed, of needing to earn the trust of the people. As chief rabbi of Kiev and as a religious leader, Rabbi Reich should not have been making any political statements during the turmoil. The Jewish community there is much too vulnerable. Again, these words are not meant to demean the honorable Chief Rabbi.

  2. Shame, over and over again Jews try to convince themselves that its only a minority, a minority that doesn’t pose any danger, and time and time again it is proven otherwise. Please G-D let them wise up and leave that blank-hole as soon as possible and find safety in Eress Yisrael.

  3. Good advice from a Rabbi.

    There is no posterity in a bad mood and there is no concealment of honor when you live to be an extreme.

    Jews should NOT protest in the streets where there is violence for the sake of a social distinction or social reactivation of lesser proportions.

    The fact is that Israel should be in the Synagogue and davening to make sure that there is a higher hope for all in their community.

    It is not by strength and might that the world evolves. Spirit is the focus of the Strength of Israel.

  4. The comment made about the President of Ukraine not being able to earn the trust of the people was a reticent response to the senseless killing of demonstrators. It was a moral comment and not in any way a political comment. As a respected religious leader Chief Rabbi Bleich is often called upon by the non Jewish population and press in Ukraine to comment on different issues. Not always can one sit on the wall and very often a stance must be taken. Especially if it a question of lives being lost and a moral question.