A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:
“It is a total lie,” a chif rabbi in Ukraine told The New York Times. “Jews are not in danger in Ukraine.” Still, many Ukranian Jews are making the pilgrimage to Israel. "According to the Jewish Agency for Israel, 375 new immigrants from Ukraine arrived in the first three months of 2014, compared with 221 in the same period in 2013," reported JNS News Service. "The best way for Putin to lock in his status as the best friend of the Jewish people would be to remove the Jewish card from the table. He should continue asserting Russia's national interests vis-a-vis Ukraine, which he should do regardless of international reactions. Invoking Jewish concerns, whether worthy or not, does not do Jews any favors and will not win any world leaders to its side. But the real danger is that it may stigmatize Jews as his puppets," wrote Eli Verschleiser in The Moscow Times.
France's new leader
Manuel Valls has a "reputation as an energetic and reform-minded politician," according to JTA, and has been embraced by the French Jewish community. “I don’t think we ever knew a minister who said things the way he says them,” Roger Cukierman, a Jewish leader there, said last week. The new prime minister says that “through my wife I am eternally tied to the Jewish community and to Israel. So I have not come here to receive lessons in combating anti-Semitism.” There's also hope coming out of World Jewish Congress meeting in Paris a few weeks ago. That's a boost for a community that has had fear become a part of life for them in recent years.