No anti-Semitism in Ukraine – Zelensky

No anti-Semitism in Ukraine – Zelensky

There is no anti-Semitism in Ukraine, and it is necessary to look for "common heroes" in the issue of street names, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said in an interview with The Times of Israel.

"We have very interesting statistical information that will be very interesting for Israel. There is a published Pew Research Center poll from 2018 that assessed the level of anti-Semitism in Europe. And the lowest level of anti-Semitism was in Ukraine," Zelensky said when asked whether he is worried about "Ukrainian nationalists being upset with the honoring of the Jewish victims."

The president, as well as the journalist who held the interview, pointed out that the security of synagogues in Kyiv is not as tight as anywhere in the world, because there is nothing threatening Jews here.

Zelensky also noted that he has Jewish blood, but Ukrainians have elected him head of state.

"I have Jewish blood. And I'm president. Nobody cares. Nobody asks me about it. [...] We have the percentage of radical people, of course, but it is very small. And that is why I'm not afraid [of any resistance to our memorial plans," the president said.

Zelensky also commented on the issue of the "controversial" renaming of streets.

"This applies not only to streets but also to monuments. It's a question of how people with different history, with different attitudes, can live together in practice. It is a very complicated and sensitive issue. There are heroes that are honored in the west and in the center of Ukraine, and there are other Ukrainians that have their own heroes and think otherwise," he said.

Zelensky said that he understands different feelings, and therefore calls for the building of "a common history." "Let's find those people whose names do not cause controversy in our present and in our future. Let's name the monuments and streets for those people whose names do not provoke conflict," he said.

He also added that Ukraine has modern heroes – "people who have made history, scientists, people in space exploration, great sportsmen, many writers, people who are widely respected in all parts of Ukraine."


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