A new exhibition showcasing the work of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Ukraine was inaugurated on Tuesday at the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels.
Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, on an official visit to Belgium, visited an exhibition about the activities of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Ukraine (FJCU), which opened today at the Headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels.
The event and the exhibit, which showcase the work of the FJCU in conjunction with the shluchim throughout Ukraine, is the initiative of the European Union’s Neighborhood Commissioner, Oliver Verhali, in charge of the relationship with Ukraine on behalf of the EU.
Minister Cohen was very impressed by the exhibits and photos and mentioned that during his visit to Ukraine a few months ago, he saw the important activity up close.
Other senior officials from the Union were present at the opening of the exhibition, including the President of the Parliament of the European Union Roberta Metzola, commissioners and ambassadors of countries in the Union, alongside the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Ukraine, Rabbi Raphael Rutman – who came especially from Kyiv; and Rabbi Levi Matusof from Brussels, who is also the EU Representative of FJCU.
The European Commission is helping the Federation and through it many Ukrainians, Jews and non-Jews, who were rescued from the battles in the frontline cities in the first months of the war and by financing food baskets, humanitarian measures and medicines.
Commissioner Várhelyi said that he is stunned by the activity of the Federation whose people “give food, medical help, heating and lighting to Jews and non-Jews. Thank you very much for your service to the people of Ukraine.”
Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament said: “When the war broke out, the Federation of Jewish Communities in Ukraine immediately thought what else we could do, immediately, in order to help and give. The Federation was at the forefront. We are talking about various actions such as evacuating civilians, including Holocaust survivors, providing meals and medicine, and what is perhaps the most symbolic of their actions: the use of synagogues in Ukraine as aid centers where volunteers worked. I would like to thank you for that.”
Ukraine’s ambassador to the European Union, HE Vsevolod Chentsov, spoke in his speech about the exciting rescues of Holocaust survivors in this context. “In the terrible attack in Uman, which is a place that is important to thousands of Jews, we suffered together. We remember everyone who was killed in the war. I say thank you to the Federation of Jewish Communities: you helped us a lot to survive this winter. I also want to thank the State of Israel – I am sure that together hand in hand, we will move forward, we are on the right side of history – we will win this war.”
According to Rabbi Raphael Rutman: “In the Talmud it is written that saving a human life is equivalent to saving an entire world. Thanks to the support of the European Union, we have saved tens of thousands of worlds and we continue to do so with all our might.”
Rabbi Meir Stambler, Chairman of the Federation, said: “We thank Minister Cohen, Commissioner Várhelyi, President Metsola and all the dignitaries who came to salute our activity. We will continue to help each and every one of you until this terrible war is over, believing that redemption is just a moment away.”