Amid fatal clashes between police and demonstrators in Kiev, Jewish community representatives canceled an annual Holocaust remembrance event in the Ukraine capital out of safety concerns.
Some 400 Jews were expected to attend the event on Jan. 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, at the Brodsky Synagogue, according to Eduard Dolinsky, the executive director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee. But as the death toll in the clashes reached at least four on Wednesday, organizers decided to cancel.
Violence erupted again this week over new laws limiting the right to protest in Ukraine, which has seen a wave of rallies and riots in recent months in connection with the government’s refusal to sign an agreement furthering its integration into the European Union.
Russia, which supplies much of Ukraine’s gas and other imports, has been said to press Ukraine not to pursue closer cooperation with the European Union. Ukrainian Jews appear split on the issue.
Last week, several unidentified men took part in attacks against two haredi Orthodox Jews in what may have been anti-Semitic incidents. In one of the incidents, a Hebrew teacher was stabbed and sustained serious injuries and a massive loss of blood.
No suspects have been detained in the assaults.
On Tuesday, Rabbi Boruch Gorin of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia called on Ukrainian authorities to place Jewish community institutions in Kiev under protection throughout the day. In a statement made to the RIA Novosty news agency, he appeared to link the anti-government protests to the two attacks on Jews.
“Unfortunately, among the opposition leaders and opposition forces, well-defined, anti-Semitic speeches have already been recorded,” Gorin said in an apparent reference to the ultranationalist Svoboda party. “This is extremely dangerous.”