Minister Abraham Hirchson, responsible for the cabinet's fight against anti-Semitism, commented on the results of the survey yesterday at a special cabinet meeting at Yad Vashem. "Anti-Semitism in Russia and Ukraine has reached tremendous proportions," he said.
The cabinet held the special session at Yad Vashem to commemorate International Holocaust Day. The UN has declared the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, January 27, a global memorial day for Holocaust victims.
Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said at the meeting that he hopes global observation of the memorial day "will lead to a decrease in anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, which in recent years, to my regret, we have witnessed with concern."
According to the report, the number of violent incidents in Ukraine virtually doubled over the previous year to 40. The increase in events in Russia was more moderate. The most serious events in Russia were the recent stabbing rampage against central Moscow synagogue-goers, in which a skinhead injured 10 people, and the petition to outlaw Judaism.
During the meeting at Yad Vashem the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, the cabinet approved Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's initiative to reopen the Jewish pavilion at Auschwitz.
Israel will take responsibility for a permanent exhibit memorializing the 1.1 million Jews who perished at the camp and the tens of thousands of prisoners who worked there.
Jewish Agency chair Ze'ev Bielski said the agency's delegates in Russia and Ukraine encounter anti-Semitism daily.
Olmert also spoke at a special Knesset session on Israel's commitment to fight anti-Semitism. "The Iranian president's call to erase Israel from the global stage, along with the rest of his anti-Semitic nonsense, which has shocked the world, indicate that evil still exists and hatred still burns," he said.
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