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Fleeing civil war, thousands of Ukrainians take refuge in Israel

They streamed off the shuttle buses into Terminal One of Ben-Gurion Airport, amid loud Hebrew music and green-clad soldiers waving Israeli flags. Chatting in Russian, the new immigrants, many of them refugees from the ongoing civil war in Ukraine’s industrial east, arrived here seeking a new life in the Jewish state. More than 5,000 Ukrainian […]

RUSSIA: Kaliningrad and Moscow struggles for places of worship

By Victoria Arnold, Forum 18 News Service In Russia’s capital Moscow Hare Krishna devotees are appealing against a unilaterally terminated land lease and the denial of building permission for a temple by the authorities. “We will pursue both cases through every level of the courts, to be able to appeal to the European Court of […]

Huddling by fire, Jews in rebel-held Ukraine keep synagogue alive

LUGANSK, Ukraine (JTA) — In an unheated synagogue with no running water, a dozen Jews are trying to keep warm as temperatures here veer toward the single digits. Not moving too much helps keep the warmth under their thick coats, they say, a technique developed as the group gathered at least once a week to […]

Discrimination, Disappearances and Exile of Leaders – The Desperate Situation of the Crimean Tatars since Russia’s Illegal Annexation of Crimea

In March 2014, Russia illegally took control over Crimea and annexed it to its territory after a heavily criticized referendum. Since then, the situation of the Crimean Tatars, the indigenous population of the peninsula who had already suffered a full-scale deportation under the Soviet Union in the 1940s, significantly worsened. They face serious and systemic […]

Russia: Human Rights Climate Unrecognizable from a Decade Ago

(Moscow) – Dramatic deterioration in the past decade has made Russia’s human rights landscape virtually unrecognizable, Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said at a news conference in Moscow today. Roth is on his first visit to the country since May 2005.  “Starting in the early 2000s, many in Russia have been wary about […]

RUSSIA: Bans on more literature, website and video

Russian courts have banned more Muslim literature and a video on the ownership of Orthodox saints’ relics as “extremist”, Forum 18 News Service notes. They have also banned a US-based Russian language website with the text of a hadith collection held by Sunni Muslims to be the most important Islamic book after the Koran. Ravil […]

Russia’s Extremism Law Violates Human Rights

By Katrina Lantos Swett, Robert P. George Nov. 26 2014 20:25 Last edited 20:26 Last Friday, a video deemed offensive to the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church was ruled “extremist” by a city court in Vladimir. While Alexander Soldatov — chief editor of, the website that posted the offending video — now […]

Ukrainian Jewish fighter touted as ‘hero, symbol of resistance’ to Russia

With his gray beard, AK-47 assault rifle and camouflage fatigues, Asher Joseph Cherkassky looks like an Eastern European version of Fidel Castro. But Cherkassky’s look is no attempt to emulate the Cuban revolutionary or any of his bearded associates. Rather, it is the result of his being an Orthodox Jew who is also a fighter […]

More Than 1 Million People in Russia Live as Slaves, Study Finds

An Australian-based human rights group has estimated 1.05 million people in Russia live as slaves. The Walk Free Foundation, an Australian-based human rights group, estimated in its inaugural slavery index last year that 29.8 million people worldwide were born into servitude, trafficked for sex work, trapped in debt bondage or exploited for forced labor. Releasing its second annual index, Walk Free increased its estimate […]

Limmud FSU goes back to Galicia, to build a Jewish future

LVIV, Ukraine — They were driven out of their homes, communities and traditional ways of life by a vicious war machine with genocidal ambitions. These Jews headed east and west, north and south, surviving that most terrible of tragedies. Then they rose from the ashes, their numbers greatly reduced, in a cultural renaissance that brought […]