By Tsvi Sadan—
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s refusal to meet Ukraine Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman after he voted in favor of UN resolution 2334 condemning all Israeli settlements as illegal, drew attention to the fact he is the first Jew ever to ascend to such prominence in Ukraine, a country whose past is tainted with bloody antisemitism.
Whether Netanyahu’s diplomatic disciplinary actions toward the 14 countries that voted in favor of this resolution is wise or not, his attitude toward Ukraine demonstrates impartiality. Jew or not, hostility toward Israel is unacceptable.
Volodymyr Groysman (38), was born to Jewish parents in Vinnytsia. In 1941, the Nazis shot dead in open mass graves some 28,000 Jews of Vinnytsia and its surrounding areas. Vinnytsia’s chief rabbi, Shaul Horowitz, told COLive that “his grandfather and grandmother … were taken by the Nazis to be shot. Miraculously, they fell onto the pile of corps and faked their death. That’s how they were saved.”
Unlike many Jews who try to downplay or even conceal their Jewishness, Groysman is up front about it.
Following his lead as chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, in 2014 he asked the representatives to stand for a minute of silence in remembrance of the Jews who perished in the Holocaust. This was the first time ever that such a gesture took place in the Ukrainian parliament.
Groysman also prays regularly in a local synagogue, knowing that doing so may upset many of his countrymen. The Ukrainian Prime Minister has family living in the Israeli coastal city of Ashdod.
As for Ukraine’s reason for voting for this resolution, it is suggested that by so doing Ukraine showed its displeasure over Israel’s idleness toward Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.