More questions were being asked in Ukraine this week as another synagogue was firebombed and rabbis began urging the country’s Jews to flee, as both sides in the country’s internal dispute labelled the other anti-Semitic.
No-one was injured in the shul attack in the Black Sea port of Nikolayev, which was carried out early on Saturday morning, according to a Chabad-linked news site which cited the son of the city’s chief rabbi.
The incident, in which two Molotov cocktails were thrown at the outer wall, was captured on CCTV and footage was later uploaded to YouTube. It is the second time in two months that a synagogue has been fire-bombed, after a Zaporizhia shul attacked in February in what Jewish leaders said was a deliberate “provocation” by pro-Russian elements.
Pro-Russian and pro-European groups are vying for control of the vast country, and authorities are struggling to maintain control following a popular uprising in the capital Kiev and the annexation of Crimea by Russia.
Last week anti-Semitic leaflets were distributed to Jews by masked men outside a synagogue in the eastern city of Donetsk. The fliers, purportedly from separatists, ordering the city’s 17,000 Jews to register with the armed groups who have taken over government buildings, pay a “fee” and list their property or face deportation.
The self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic denied any involvement and labelled the letter a fake, but international Jewish organisations noted an increase in the number of those asking about making aliyah.
Alexander Ivanchenko, from the Jewish Agency, said: “I see a rise in the level of interest, of people calling the Israeli embassy in Kiev.”
- View the CCTV footage below