Jewish Observer
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13/16
November 2001
5762 Kheshvan

JEWISH AMBASSADOR OF UKRAINE
MOSHE ZIKHMIKH
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On the invitation of Prime Minister Anatoliy Kinakh Chief Rabbi of Kiev and Ukraine Yaakov Dov Bleich became a member of the Ukrainian delegation that visited the USA. A meeting of the Ukrainian delegation with Jewish public was held in New York on October 29. The meeting took place in the office of Mortimer Tsukerman, President of the Confederation of Presidents of US Jewish organizations. During the meeting the Jewish and political life in Ukraine was discussed. Rabbi Bleich underlined that Ukraine practices equal rights for all national minorities. He particularly stressed that Jewish traditions are being revived in the country. As an example, Rabbi Bleich said that about 20 thousand children attend Jewish schools, that for the last 10 years 40 synagogues have been restituted to Jewish communities, including the building on the territory of the Kiev "Transsignal" works. The building was handed over to the Kiev Jewish community not long ago.

In response to the request of the Ukrainian delegation Mortimer Tsukerman promised to assist in canceling by the US Congress the Jackson-Venika amendment towards Ukraine. This amendment was introduced in 1974 as a reaction of the USA towards the violation of human rights by the Soviet Union. After the collapse of the USSR all CIS countries "inherited" this amendment. Every year the USA suspends this amendment towards Ukraine, but does not cancel it forever. The validity of this amendment makes it impossible to recognize Ukraine as a country with a market economy and, thus, blocks its entry into the World Trade Organization.

In the interview to the "Jewish Observer" correspondent Chief Rabbi of Kiev and Ukraine Yaakov Dov Bleich called the meeting in New York business-like and constructive.

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