The two big international headlines of the moment are the downing of the Malaysian jet over Ukraine and Israel’s incursion into Gaza. On the face of it, these two stories don’t have much in common, but they are in fact part of the same story. To know Israel it helps to know Ukraine, and to know Ukraine it helps to know Israel.
~This weekend marks the 70th anniversary of the day the Soviets re-took the city of Lviv (or Lvov, according to taste) in the western Ukraine, and ended a three-year German occupation. Before the Germans arrived, there were well over 100,000 Jews in the city and just shy of 50 synagogues. On July 26th 1944, when the Soviets returned, there were a couple of hundred Jews left.
Lviv, Lvov, Lemberg had been, variously, Polish, Hungarian, Ukrainian, Habsburg, Soviet – but always, across the centuries, Jewish. All gone.