“For humanity, Babi Yar is a warning sign. For Jews, Babi Yar is an eternal imperative,” said the Israeli Prime Minister of the estimated 33,771 Jews were massacred in September 1941.
Netanyahu is the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit the Ukraine in 20 years, as well as the first foreign leader to visit Volodymyr Zelensky since he was elected president on April 21.
KIEV—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attended a memorial ceremony on Monday for the Ukrainian Jews murdered at Babi Yar during World War II.
The two leaders laid wreaths at the menorah monument of the site, where an estimated 33,771 Jews were massacred in September 1941.
“Babi Yar is endless pain. In this grave, the mass grave here behind me, tens of thousands of Ukrainian Jews and many non-Jews were murdered,” said Netanyahu. “As prime minister of Israel, I honor their memory and at the same time I say in a clear voice, precisely in this place, that it is our constant duty to stand against murderous ideologies in order to ensure that there will never be another Babi Yar.”
“For humanity, Babi Yar is a warning sign. For Jews, Babi Yar is an eternal imperative. We will always defend ourselves by ourselves against any enemy,” he continued. “The Holocaust is the worst of humanity’s horrors. The Holocaust is the greatest of Jewish tragedies, and there have been many tragedies.”
“I can see our brothers and sisters 78 years ago on the edge of the killing field. They were standing right here, a very small distance from us—naked, beaten and humiliated. At one point, they understood, and in their eyes was paralyzing horror. Their hearts were torn by evil cruelty. The hand of the murderers reached for the slaughtering knife and as the poet declared, the slaughterer slaughtered.”
Netanyahu thanked Zelensky for “efforts to preserve the memory of the Holocaust.”
Without citing anything specific, he told the Ukrainian leader: “You are continuing your efforts in the war against anti-Semitism.”
Netanyahu and Zelensky signed bilateral agreements on Monday, a day after the Israeli leader landed in Kiev for an official visit.
In a statement following the signing at the presidential palace, the two leaders said both countries agreed to boost investment and expand cooperation on technology, education, agriculture, culture and sports.
Zelensky said Ukraine was going to open a special investment office in Jerusalem, while Netanyahu said Israel would do the same in Kiev.
Speaking next to Zelensky, Netanyahu praised the flourishing relations and increasing technological ties between the two nations.
“I think the future belongs to those who innovate; Israel is the quintessential innovation nation,” said Netanyahu.
“Ukraine has enormous talents and capacities. We have discovered this because Israeli companies are here, we engage with tens of thousands of talented Ukrainians in mathematics and computer engineering, in every conceivable field of modern technology. We see their talent, we both see the opportunity, we want to seize the future.”
Netanyahu is the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit the Ukraine in 20 years, as well as the first foreign leader to visit Zelensky since he was elected president on April 21.