President Victor Yushchenko spoke at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem on Wednesday, according to the President`s press-office. He urged Knesset members to show the “moral support and solidarity of the State of Israel in honoring the victims of the totalitarian terror against the people of Ukraine, especially during the Great Famine of 1932-1933.”
“Our motive is universal,” he said and added that Ukraine’s goal was to “reinforce the common fight against any totalitarian consciousness, no matter what manifestations it has.”
Yushchenko said both nations had survived many hardships and were “committed to democratic values, which were chosen and are followed by our peoples.” He offered sympathy to Jews over their tragic history: “In our heart there is pain for the millions of innocent victims of your nation. We resolutely and unambiguously condemn all the crimes committed against Jews by totalitarian regimes.”
The president said Ukraine would never tolerate anti-Semitism, xenophobia and intolerance for human life. “We must fight this evil, which can poison any clear source, constantly and uncompromisingly.”
The president said Ukraine developed the Jewish culture. “I confirm that Ukraine’s Jewish heritage will always be duly protected,” he said and added that the first Holocaust museum in eastern Europe had been opened in Ukraine.
He said he had recently signed a decree to return Torah scrolls to Ukraine’s Jewish community and that he had given Israeli President Shimon Peres declassified documents about the activity of Ukraine’s Jewish community in the 1920s to 1940s and lists of the interned Jews killed in Ukraine’s NKVD concentration camps between 1944 and 1954.
“We call on you with sincerity in our hearts to join our efforts to fully present this unique layer of the Jewish culture and Jewish presence in our state.”
Yushchenko said Ukraine and Israel faced “no problems they cannot resolve in a wise and uniting manner” and welcomed Israel’s support for Ukraine’s new initiative, The Dialogue of the Truth for the Sake of the Future.
He said Ukraine was eager to help Israel discover and appreciate its "culture and life, its famous personalities and proponents of closer ties between the two countries."