JERUSALEM —During a two-day official visit in Israel, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin met with President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Environmental Protection and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin.
They discussed deepening bilateral cooperation in – inter alia – technology, cyber and agriculture, strenghtening ties between the two countries, and the importance of the Jewish community in Ukraine, as an important part of the Ukrainian people.
President Rivlin stressed that Israel viewed with concern the phenomena of the rise in anti-Semitism around the world, and in Europe in particular. “Never again is an imperative for the whole world, not just for the Jewish People. We are close friends, while we cannot forget, as we are sure neither can you. I am certain you will continue to fight uncompromisingly against anti-Semitism and all racism.”
The Ukrainian Foreign Minister thanked the President for his warm welcome and stressed that the coexistence of Jews and Ukrainians for hundreds of years had created deep ties between the peoples.
During his visit, Klimkin went to the Holocaust memorial at Yad Vashem and was particularly affected by what he saw.
“I have visited a number of Holocaust museums in Europe, but now I had almost an hour there [at Yad Vashem]… It was an emotional experience for me to go point by point through the exhibitions.”
For Ukrainians, Klimkin said, the tragedy of the Holocaust is part of a history of suffering in Ukraine.
Asked about anti-Semitism in Ukraine, the minister said the number of incidents is very low compared to Western Europe and elsewhere, noting that, in the last year, there were just 17 cases and they are in Ukrainian courts. Even though anti-Semitism is not a Ukrainian tradition, he stressed the need for it to be countered in Ukraine, Europe and elsewhere.