My family came from a town in Western Ukraine that was: Austro-Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, USSR and now Ukraine. There are no Jews left there and most of my relatives are unaccounted for. I am lucky to live in the US at this moment. The Jewish people need Israel and the US needs a strong Israel as defense against Islamism.
The two big international headlines of the moment are the downing of the Malaysian jet over Ukraine and Israel’s incursion into Gaza. On the face of it, these two stories don’t have much in common, but they are in fact part of the same story. To know Israel it helps to know Ukraine, and to know Ukraine it helps to know Israel. This weekend will mark the 70th anniversary of the day the Soviets re-took the city of Lviv (or Lvov, or Lemberg) in western Ukraine, and ended a three-year German occupation. Before the Germans arrived, there were well over 100,000 Jews in the city and just shy of 50 synagogues. On July 26th 1944, when the Soviets returned, there were a couple of hundred Jews left. Lviv had been, variously, Polish, Hungarian, Ukrainian, Habsburg, Soviet — but always, across the centuries, Jewish. All gone.