Why Tiny Ukraine Jewish Community Plays Key Role in Propaganda War

News Analysis

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By Paul Berger

Published March 06, 2014, issue of March 14, 2014.
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Meanwhile, Kiev-based Yaakov Dov Bleich, a Karliner-Stoliner hasid from Brooklyn, has consistently played down the threat of anti-Semitism from the revolution.

Both rabbis claim the mantle of chief rabbi of Ukraine.

It is a fact that the past few months have seen several serious anti-Semitic attacks in Ukraine. Last month, a synagogue in Crimea was daubed with anti-Semitic graffitiand a synagogue in Zaporizhia was firebombed.

In January, two men were injured in separate attacks after leaving Bleich’s synagogue in Kiev. One man, a kollel student was stabbed. The other, a Hebrew teacher, was beaten.

Bleich and some other Ukrainian-Jewish leaders, say the attacks were carried out by provocateurs. Bleich said that anti-Semitic assaults are usually spontaneous. But security camera footage from the synagogue appeared to show that both attacks were carried out by groups of men lying in wait outside the synagogue.

“We tend to not believe this is the work Ukrainian nationalists,” Bleich said. “But we don’t have any proof.”

Contact Paul Berger at berger@forward.com or on Twitter @pdberger


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