After new anti-Semitic attacks in western Ukraine city, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews helps bolster security measures

JERUSALEM —The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) will help bolster security measures for the Jewish community of Uzhgorod in western Ukraine after a series of anti-Semitic vandalism attacks this week, the organization announced.

The first attack took place Saturday night, when graffiti proclaiming “death to the Jews” and calling for “revenge” appeared on the wall of the city’s charity center, while the same messages were scrawled Sunday night on the fence of the Jewish community center, which includes the local school, synagogue, and home of the community’s rabbi, Mendy Wilhelm.

The Uzhgorod synagogue serves as a de facto community center, hosting a Jewish kindergarten, youth events, and more. The Jewish community is also planning to conduct public celebrations for the upcoming Hanukkah holiday, Dec. 12-20.

This isn’t the first anti-Semitic incident in Uzhgorod. Last year, on the same date, Uzhogord’s Holocaust memorial was vandalized with red paint and anti-Semitic fliers. The date – the last Saturday in November – is Ukrainian Golodomor Memorial Day, when the country remembers local victims of the 1932-1933 famine carried out by the Soviet government. Ukrainian ultranationalists have used the holiday for anti-Semitic incitement.

The Fellowship’s founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, said in response that The Fellowship would provide increased security measures including an around-the-clock armed guard to help protect the local Jewish community, as part of its global Jewish community security support.

“It is unacceptable that in this day and age, Jews anywhere are being targeted and threatened by the scourge of anti-Semitism,” Eckstein said. “Thanks to our millions of Christian friends worldwide who stand with the Jewish people and with Israel, we will continue to help defend and protect the Jewish people, in Uzhgorod and around the world.”

The Fellowship has already provided more than $3.6 million in 2017 alone to more than 30 Jewish communities from Argentina to Ukraine, funding new fencing, video monitoring systems, guards, security training… The Fellowship began stepping in to bolster security for Jewish communities worldwide after the 2008 Islamic terror attacks in Mumbai claimed the lives of a local Chabad rabbi and his wife, among 166 victims total.

The Fellowship has worked with the Chabad movement, the Jewish Agency and directly with communities since then, including after the 2015 terror attacks in Paris, providing more than $15 million in grants for security enhancements in 85 cities worldwide.

Wilhelm said the Uzhgorod synagogue serves as a de facto community center, hosting a Jewish kindergarten, youth events, and more. The Jewish community is also planning to conduct public celebrations for the upcoming Hanukkah holiday, Dec. 12-20.

This isn’t the first anti-Semitic incident in Uzhgorod. Last year, on the same date, Uzhogord’s Holocaust memorial was vandalized with red paint and anti-Semitic fliers. The date – the last Saturday in November – is Ukrainian Golodomor Memorial Day, when the country remembers local victims of the 1932-1933 famine carried out by the Soviet government. Ukrainian ultranationalists have used the holiday for anti-Semitic incitement.

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