A European Jewish group on Monday expressed concern about the safety of Jews in Ukraine following the surprise victory of a xenophobic and anti-Semitic party in Sunday’s parliamentary elections.
The showing of the extreme-right Svoboda party, which had been expected to barely pass the 5 percent vote threshold, emerged as a big surpriseas after it received 12% of the votes and is expected to enter the Ukrainian parliament for the first time and might even be part of a future governing coalition.
“We are not intending to interfere in internal Ukraine affairs and its voters' decisions, but we are very concerned about the safety of Jews in Ukraine and throughout Europe in light of growing anti-Semitic movements in Europe," said Rabbi Menachem Margolin, General Director of the European jewish Association (EJA), in a statement.
He called on Ukrainian and EU leaders to ensure the safety of Jews in the country and across Europe.
Svoboda (which means Freedom) was formed in 2004, growing out of a movement that until then had called itself the Social-National party of Ukraine.
The party has organised a march against the thousands of Hassidic Jews who arrive every year for a pilgrimage at the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav in the southern Ukrainian town of Uman.