Ukraine Jewish Community
Prime Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, today (Tuesday, 20 August 2019), in Kiev, met with members of the Ukraine Jewish community.
Following is an excerpt of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s remarks:
“I am very moved to be back here with my wife, Sara. It is especially moving to be here and visit Babi Yar again, to understand the amazing path we took from that valley of death to the zenith of all nations. Today, Israel is a world power, a rising world power.
Our people were almost completely eradicated. We were massacred without mercy. And today our people live in a strong, robust, advanced and prosperous nation—first and foremost thanks to the strength of our faith. Without faith, nothing matters. Without faith, we would not have been able to create the miracle that is the rebirth of Israel in its homeland. It is a faith that has been passed from generation to generation, even in our most difficult hours.
There were people
in the valley of death who whispered ‘Hear, O Israel,’ and Jews who wished for the renaissance of Israel. We have heard these stories also about other places during the Holocaust. It is possible that they only said the words of the prayers but did not believe that their prayers would be realized, but they were thanks to faith.
We are imbued
with faith, that very same faith, that same sense of mission. This sense of mission in its modern expression is the rebirth of the Hebrew language and the rise of the national movement. They both would have been impossible were it not for what happened here on Ukrainian soil, because so many of our writers, like Bialik or Tchernichovsky, and so many of our great philosophers, like Ahad Ha’Am and Jabotinsky, came from here. In fact, Ukrainian Jewry gave birth to some of our greatest geniuses, and they were all suffused in our heritage. They were familiar with Jewish tradition, they did not shun it. Of course, they wanted to seize the future and build a country, but they did not shut the door to the past. On the contrary, they sanctified Israel’s holiness; they embraced Israel’s holiness; and they learned about Israel’s holiness. These things grew largely in Ukrainian soil.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu added:
“The Creator gave us a tremendous opportunity not granted other peoples to rebuild our lives in our homeland. Our doing so contradicts all reason because of that same faith. The combination of faith and mobilizing our people’s unique capabilities brings change not only Israel, but the entire world.
I see what we offer here, the genius, the creativity, the achievements, the innovation. I see the amity and admiration with which we are received, and I know that the basis for this bond is stronger than ever.
I see how the State of Israel is greatly admired everywhere in the world. It is not only because we stand against the darkness and light the candle of truth of which the Lubavitcher Rebbe spoke; it is not only because we successfully repelled our enemies and forged new friendships; but because there is some kind of magic inherent in us.
I thank each and every one of you, everyone with roots and branches that you operated together with us to ensure Israel’s eternity, G-d willing. Thank you, each and every one of you.”
Attached photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)