Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Ukraine's chief Rabbi ready to give up state order to protest against Bandera award

13:50 | Interfax-Ukraine

Ukraine's Jewish community is outraged by the decision to confer the title of Hero of Ukraine posthumously to nationalist leader Stepan Bandera, with Chief Rabbi Moshe Reuven Asman of Ukraine and Kyiv saying he would give up his Order of Merit in protest.

"The chief rabbi has asked our lawyers to find out how the order could be returned from a legal point of view," Asman's aide David Milman told Interfax on Feb. 2.

"This position is shared by the entire Jewish community. Everyone is outraged. [Outgoing President] Viktor Yuschenko could not venture this step as long as he was hoping to remain president," he said.

"This award is a call for war, as war was Bandera's credo," Milman said.

Yushchenko conferred the title of Hero of Ukraine, one of the country's highest honors, to Bandera on Jan. 22, which marks the Day of Unity. This title had earlier been conferred on Commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army Roman Shukhevych.

Asman was elected Ukraine's chief rabbi at a meeting of the Jewish communities on Sept. 11, 2005.