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Yushchenko’s visit to Israel

Former Prisoner of Nazi Camps Asked the Ukrainian President about Nazi Officer Shukhevych

Saturday 24 November 2007, by Regnum

Smuggling scandal, true assessment of Shukhevich’s role in life of Jews and embarrassment at Knesset: Outcomes of “successful” Yushchenko’s visit to Israel

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Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko assesses as successful his state visit to Israel that took place on November 13-15. He made the statement in Jerusalem after a meeting with Israeli political and academic elite, a REGNUM correspondent informs citing press office of the Ukrainian president. “I believe the visit laid the basis for our relations, new dynamics. I saw many friends of Ukraine in Israel,” the president said.

Meanwhile, the media report several incidents occurred during the visit of the Ukrainian president to Israel. According to Maariv newspaper (Israel), the aircraft belonging to Aerosvit Airlines that was chartered for the official delegation carried, apart from the president and his spouse, three smuggled puppets of a rare breed. According to Ben Gurion Airport customs agency head Rafi Gabai, cost of each puppet exceeds $1,500. The dogs were found during a private check of stewards carried out by the customs officers. “The Ukrainians admitted the violation and pointed out the customer, who was expecting them at the arrival. She was supposed to pay to them for the illegal transfer of animals,” Gabai added.

Besides, when Yushchenko was on visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, one of the museum officials, Joseph Lapid, mentioned Roman Shukhevych, commander of the UPA, Ukrainian insurgent army. Lapid, a former prisoner of Nazi camps, later Israeli minister, deputy prime minister and leader of a major political party, asked whether the Ukrainian president knew that Shukhevych, in first days of the Great Patriotic War led the Lvov pogrom that killed 4,000 people. The veteran wanted Yushchenko to know that a person like Shukhevych was given the title of the Ukrainian national hero.

Finally, embarrassment took place while Viktor Yushchenko was speaking at the Knesset. “We are concerned about public manifestations of anti-Semitism, nationalist extremism and neo-Nazism in Ukraine. We know how this can end,” Speaker of the Israeli parliament Dalia Itzik announced, calling “shocking” the fact that an officially registered Ukrainian institute, the International Human Resources Management Academy, is involved in disseminating anti-Semitism. Besides, Yushchenko got it at the Knesset regarding the title of the national hero awarded to Shukhevych. “We are concerned as well by commemorating those engaged in killing of Jews and we ask you to be considerate in paying honor to those who were engaged in killing our people,” the Israeli speaker said.

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