A cross with a representation of the crucified Jesus Christ has been recently vandalized on the bank of a lake in Uman.
The Jewish Confederation of Ukraine condemns any manifestations of vandalism on an interethnic and interreligious basis. This is our firm position.
However, in this case, in addition to condemning those who have committed this outrage, I would like to say the following.
It is very commendable that two young vandals who have committed this act have been detained almost immediately. However, it should be noted that about a dozen acts of vandalism against the known throughout the world Menorah in Babi Yar have been committed in the recent years. It is also impossible to forget the outrageous act of vandalism – the synagogue desecration in Uman during the Hanukkah celebration in December 2016, when a pig’s head sprayed with bright red paint, as if it were blood, was thrown into the prayer area.
We believe that even punishment of the perpetrators, who have vandalized the crucifix this time, will not solve the problem, as in our opinion, this cross had been provocatively installed by the representatives of one of the ultra-nationalist Ukrainian organizations near one of the largest Jewish shrines in Ukraine – by the grave of the holy Rebbe Nachman. Could you recall even one case when during the Jewish holidays the Jews would install Menorah near the Orthodox cathedrals? No, it has never happened and will not happen.
Due to this, it is also worth reminding that after the installation of this memorial cross, the Bishop of Uman Panteleimon mentioned that no one had asked him for advice or blessing. He also said that if he had been asked, he would have advised to install this crucifix in a different place, because the cross should unite people rather than cause quarrels.
Our concern about possible further provocations is confirmed by the fact that already on January 20, a rally took place in Uman, during which its participants not only made dirty anti-Semitic speeches, but also openly threatened the Jews of Ukraine. We demand reaction of the law enforcement authorities in regards to these ugly anti-Semitic actions.
While condemning the mentioned act of vandalism, at the same time, with great concern, we can predict that if the memorial cross is not moved from the place of the prayers of many thousands of pilgrims from all over the world, to any other district of the city, then this might trigger multiple new eruptions of conflicts around this cross. And this will only be in the interests of the enemies of Ukraine.
Jewish Confederation of Ukraine