«Jewish Observer»
JEWISH UKRAINE
22/41
November 2002
5763 Kislev

VICTOR YUSHCHENKO OFFERED TO CREATE CENTER OF UKRAINIAN TRAGEDY IN BABIY YAR
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November 7-10 the leader of the "Nasha Ukraina" ("Our Ukraine") bloc Victor Yushchenko was on an unofficial visit in Israel on the invitation of faction "Our home Israel - National unity". He met with the leader of the party "Our home Israel" Avigdor Lieberman, chairman of the parliamentary united faction "Our home Israel - National unity", leader of the Israeli party "Democratic choice" Roman Bronfman as well as representatives of the foreign office in charge of the East European direction. Yushchenko was accompanied by a people's deputy, vice-president of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress Yevgeny Chervonenko.

During the meeting of former Ukraine's Prime Minister with Natan Shcharansky the Vice Prime Minister of Israel noted the level of cooperation between Israel and Ukraine is the lowest in Eastern Europe despite the fact the majority of Israel's repatriates come from Ukraine. Shcharansky underlined Israel's authorities highly negatively reacted to recent pronouncements of some prominent Ukrainian officials regarding "a lack of evidence to the reasons of TU-154's catastrophe over the Black Sea", as well as a possible sale of "Kolchuga" radars to Iraq. V. Yushchenko also met with Israeli businessmen working on the markets of Central and Eastern Europe. "Israel should enter the top ten partners of Ukraine", - he stressed and added, "Ukraine is a rather prospective market which will continue growing". "Israel possesses a big intellectual potential, lots of scientific elaborations whereas Ukraine is a big industrial basis with qualified manpower", - noted Yushchenko.

In his opinion, both countries should make use of an excellent opportunity to establish fruitful cooperation. V. Yushchenko noted the Ukrainian authorities are able to create favourable conditions for businessmen aspiring to work in Ukraine as well as to take care of the Jews willing to return here. The businessmen agreed with Yushchenko but emphasized Ukraine should adopt generally recognized stable rules of the game for the development of bilateral relations.

V. Yushchenko also met with general director of "Joint" in Eastern Ukraine Yitzhak Averbukh. The parties discussed the political situation in Ukraine as well as the question of constructing a Jewish culture center in Babiy Yar. V. Yushchenko offered to create in Babiy Yar "a Center of Ukrainian tragedy to include a monument to victims of the famine, museum of Holocaust and monument to Ukrainian Righteous Men who would save Jews during the WWII". "We should remember about Holocaust, but we also cannot forget 10 million genocide's victims among Ukrainians". In his opinion, a monument of Ukrainian tragedy "should become a sacred place for the entire people of Ukraine". "Black pages of the relations between Jews and Ukrainians should be done away with. We can achieve this through public discussions. The idea of the Center of Ukrainian tragedy may and should become a symbol of reconciliation", - stressed V. Yushchenko.

The offer of "Our Ukraine's" leader received the approval of Israeli politicians. They declared a delegation of "Joint's" representatives from USA and Israel would come in the nearest time to Kiev to study the possibilities to put this offer to life.

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