Ukraine’s Jewish prime minister meets with Netanyahu in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman of Ukraine met with Israeli officials, including his counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, after an earlier visit was cancelled over Ukraine’s support of a United Nations resolution condemning settlements.

Groysman, his nation’s first Jewish prime minister, met Monday with Netanyahu in Jerusalem. They are the only Jewish prime ministers in the world. 

“This is a moment of great friendship because there is a common history that binds Ukraine and Israel,” Netanyahu said, according to his office. “Some of it is laced with tragedy, but it is also laced with hope and with sympathy.”

In December, Netanyahu canceled the Groysman visit after Ukraine was one of 14 countries to vote in favor of a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel for continuing to build in West Bank settlements. The United States abstained in the vote, sparking controversy.

Netanyahu said Monday that Ukraine “reaffirmed” its friendship to Israel with its vote against a UNESCO resolution earlier this month that denied Jewish ties to Jerusalem,” which he added “sets our relations on a future course, which I deeply appreciate.

“I know your own personal involvement in this decision, and it’s doubly appreciated,” the Israeli leader said. “And I know your stance and the stance of the government against anti-Semitism, and that’s triply appreciated.”

Groysman invited Netanyahu to visit Ukraine at his earliest convenience, and Netanyahu accepted the invitation.

On Monday, Israel and Ukraine signed several agreements, including a joint declaration regarding cooperation in preventing disasters and dealing with their consequences; a five-year plan for bilateral cooperation in health and medicine; an administrative agreement between the Israel Tax Authority and the Ukraine Fiscal Service on the exchange of statistical data regarding bilateral trade, and a protocol for a bilateral agreement on the temporary employment of Ukrainian workers in specific sectors in the Israeli labour market.

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