Catalogue of the exhibition: "The Jews of Ukraine for the State of Israel. Ukrainian Land, Eretz Israel, Israel"
The Institute of Jewish studies in cooperation with the Embassy of the State of Israel and with support of Oleg Vishnyakov, Honorary Consul of Israel in Western region of Ukraine, has issued a catalog of the exhibition "The Jews of Ukraine for the State of Israel. Ukrainian Land, Eretz Yisrael, Israel" which tells about people who were born or lived in Ukraine and played an important role in the creation and history of the state of Israel.
Eliav Belotserkovsky, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the State of Israel in Ukraine
Projects like this are as relevant as ever today when Ukraine, shaped for over the 23 years of independence as a multinational and multicultural state, is on the path of building harmonious interethnic and interconfessional relations.
Ukraine has long been a focal point of one third of all European Jewry. On the territory of Ukraine to this day there preserved the Jewish national-religious holy places which attract thousands of pilgrims. Born and raised, living and working in Ukraine have been outstanding personalities of Jewish culture and art, Jewish political and religious leaders – the people who played a significant role in the spiritual revival of the Jewish people, which laid the groundwork for the creation of the state of Israel.
The stories that you see on the pages of this book is not just the history of life and professional activity of individuals, but a significant part of the history of Israel and, in a broad sense, a part of the history of Ukraine.
Prominent Israelis who appear on the pages of this book are connected with Ukraine as their place of birth and years of his life. Most of their aspirations and accomplishments make an integral part of the state of Israel – their own homeland, deliberately chosen and painstakingly recreated.
But at the same time, the country where the person was born, spent his childhood and youth, no doubt, affects the further formation of his personality, his outlook, his dreams. Not always and not everywhere in the memoirs of prominent Israelis Ukraine appears to be the pastoral edge of a Golden childhood as the history of relations between the Ukrainian and Jewish people stretches from ancient ages and contains a wide range of interethnic and interpersonal relations.
But every fate, every few terse lines in his memoirs are the invisible ties between the two countries. It is the Foundation for intercultural dialogue, more durable than political agreements and economic benefits: it is something that will build further understanding and cooperation of our descendants.
Yitzhak Carmel Kagan,
Envoy, Deputy Ambassador of the State of Israel in Ukraine
"In Israel, to be a realist, you must believe in miracles," said David Ben-Gurion.
Blooming desert – isn't that a miracle? And are they not notorious cranks and romantics who followed the dream, left their home and came to Palestine, to turn the desert into Eretz Yisrael?
The contribution of the Ukrainian Jews in the creation of the state of Israel is hard to overestimate.
Kharkiv Zionists "biluim" who founded the first agricultural settlements in Palestine were not mere peasants – they made the intellectual platform of the future state of Israel. Many of their followers became outstanding cultural, scientific and community leaders, and it is of them that this wonderful exhibition tells.
In the 1990s, about 600 thousand Jews who came from Ukraine again pushed Israel up. Educated, enthusiastic, ready for hard work immigrants gave a powerful intellectual stimulus in the development of Israel.
With this movement to date, the small State of Israel is one of the twenty most developed countries of the world. A large proportion of successes in the field of culture, art and science belong to the Israelites who came from Ukraine.
I think a talented and hard-working people unite our country not worse than any diplomacy. Therefore, the aim of the exhibition is to acquaint Ukrainians with the fate of their countrymen who founded the state of Israel.
Honorary Consul of Israel in Western region of Ukraine
on the pages of this catalog you can find amazing exploring with colorful personalities whose lives and fates joined Ukraine and Israel. For me personally the facts of their life became an example of true service to the people and the country.
Of course, their activities, their efforts can cause only admiration. Thanks largely to the tenacity of those who at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries came from Ukraine to Palestine, embodied the centuries-old dream of the Jewish people - the state of Israel was established. They have built cities and factories, created agricultural settlements and planted forests. They, hand in hand with Jews from other countries, have strengthened the country and repulsed numerous enemies. It is very important that the modern generation should remember that. It is our common duty to recall these facts.
As one of the representatives of the state of Israel in Ukraine, I am sure that the cooperation potential of our countries can be seriously increased. We can and must use all the possibilities for convergence.
In fact, it is predefined and the history of the formation of our countries and by the conditions under which Ukraine and Israel achieved statehood. And, of course, the most important factor is the fact that over a million Israelis believe that their roots are in Ukraine. On Ukrainian soil there are numerous cultural relics and holy places precious to the Jewish people. And every year thousands of Ukrainian pilgrims and tourists travel to Israel.
I am sure the catalog that you are holding in your hands will fill you with a sense of how close is the connection between Ukraine and Israel, how much it gave and, hopefully, will provide for the development and strengthening of our friendship and cooperation.
The opening ceremony took place on September 15, 2014 in Museum of the History of Kiev