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Interfaith group sending $1 million to secure Jews in Ukraine

JTA

February 26, 2014 | 12:36 pm

Ukrainian men help pull one another out of a stampede during clashes at rallies in Ukraine on Feb. 26. Photo by Baz Ratner/Reuters

Ukrainian men help pull one another out of a stampede during clashes at rallies in Ukraine on Feb. 26. Photo by Baz Ratner/Reuters

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews said it will send $1 million to assist the Jewish community in Ukraine amid the country’s political upheaval.

The help, which will go toward security for Jewish institutions and for the elderly and impoverished, was announced Wednesday by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the founder and president of the fellowship.

“From the many conversations I’ve conducted this week with Jewish leaders in the Ukraine, we understood that the situation on the ground is critical,” Eckstein said. “Rabbis and communal leaders feel under threat and requested assistance with reinforcing the security around Jewish schools and communal buildings.”

The assistance is in addition to the annual aid that the fellowship sends to the countries of the former Soviet Union.

Earlier this week, the Jewish Agency said it was providing emergency assistance to increase security measures for the Jewish community in Ukraine hours after protests in the former Soviet republic forced President Viktor Yanukovych to flee Kiev.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations, Yuriy Sergeyev, told reporters on Monday that attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions are not widespread. There is no “state anti-Semitism,” he said, according to The Jerusalem Post, and noted anti-Semitism was against the law in Ukraine.

Acting Ukraine President Oleksander Tuchynov assured Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, the president of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine and a chief rabbi in the country, at a meeting Tuesday night that he would work to keep the country’s Jewish community safe, Israel Radio reported on Wednesday.

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