Ukrainian Jews split on support for Russian invasion

“Death to Jews” is scrawled on the Ner Tamid synagogue in Simferopol, in Ukraine’s Crimean Republic, last week

While many Ukrainian Jews have strongly condemned the Russian military incursion into Crimea, others see the intervention as restoring order in the wake of a violent revolution that overthrew the pro-Russian government of President Viktor Yanukovych.

“I feel safer with them around,” said Cyrlikova, a Jewish Ukrainian who has lived in Sevastopol for five years. “These are crazy times, and now I know that if something bad happens, they will stop it.”

Divisions within the Ukrainian Jewish community have deepened in the wake of the Russian movement last week into the Crimean Peninsula, where approximately 10,000 Jews live amid an ethnic Russian majority.

Many Ukrainian Jews took part in the opposition movement centered in Kiev’s Maidan, or Independence Square. Jews participated despite the fact that the protests included far-right activists and some political figures who have been known to espouse anti-Semitic views. But support for the revolution is hardly unanimous among the country’s Jews…

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