Jews must leave Russia before they become scapegoats for the hardships caused by the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, the former chief rabbi in Moscow Pinchas Goldschmidt told the Guardian.
Goldschmidt believes that Jews living in the Russian Federation are in danger, as antisemitism is rising in this country. The Russian government may redirect the frustration and anger of Russians towards the Jewish community, Goldschmidt assumed.
“Pressure was put on community leaders to support the war and I refused to do so. I resigned because to continue as chief rabbi of Moscow would be a problem for the community because of the repressive measures taken against dissidents,” Goldschmidt said.
In July 2022, Russia’s government shut down the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency, a non-profit organization that promotes immigration to Israel. Since the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine started in February 2022, up to 30% of Jews either left Russia or were planning to do so, according to Goldschmidt.
On the other hand, the Jewish community in Ukraine prospers, according to Goldschmidt. Ukraine is a country, where 72% of citizens voted for Volodymyr Zelenskyy as the country’s President three years ago, back in 2019. Zelenskyy was born to a Ukrainian Jewish family and had a Jewish upbringing. The Jewish origin of Ukraine’s President refutes Vladimir Putin’s claim that Ukraine is being governed by neo-Nazis, Goldschmidt said.
“Show me another country that is in the grip of Nazis where the Jewish community is thriving,” Goldschmidt added.
Last summer, Zelenskyy called on the Jewish community all over the world to double efforts to stop Russia’s hatred towards Ukraine, its culture, and history.
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