When Russia invaded Ukraine, the homeland of his parents and grandparents, David felt obligated to leave Israel and fight against Vladimir Putin, the man he views as a modern Hitler.
After praying on a recent Shabbat in Kyiv’s oldest synagogue, David, 56, said he was proud to have spent most of the past nine months on the front lines, where he took fire from artillery and drones while fighting in Ukraine’s eastern offensive in Kharkiv.
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But he fumed when asked about Israel, his home for more than two decades, and about its limited support for Ukraine — a stance that seems increasingly odd given the deepening alliance between Russia and Iran, whose leaders have repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction and are supporting Moscow’s war effort by supplying drones and missiles.
“Ukraine has the right to criticize the Israeli government about the lack of support,” said David, who requested that he be identified only by his first name to protect himself and his family, including relatives in Russia.
Israel’s position is ever more painful for some Ukrainian Jews as they prepare to celebrate Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, in intermittent darkness due to the blackouts brought on by Russia’s recurring airstrikes, which have knocked out the heat in the main sanctuary of the synagogue David attends in Kyiv. [Continue reading…]