Weekly News Update 
WASHINGTON, D.C. November 11, 2016

TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties
FROM: Daniel Rubin, Chairman;
Alexander Smukler, President;
Mark B. Levin, Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO
Dear Friend,

Please see below for this week’s stories, including NCSEJ’s statement on the election of President-elect Trump. 

Today is Veterans Day, when we remember and honor the men and women in uniform who have helped to defend our country. We thank them for their service.


Mark B. Levin
NCSEJ Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO

Washington, D.C. November 11, 2016

NCSEJ Statement on U.S. President-Elect Donald J. Trump
NCSEJ, November 11, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC - NCSEJ congratulates President-elect Donald J. Trump on his election victory and wishes him success and wisdom in his transition to taking office as the 45th President of the United States of America.

We welcome his statement that he will seek to work with other nations in partnership and to seek common ground, not conflict.

As the American Jewish community’s voice on issues related to the Jewish communities in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, we look forward to working with the new Administration on a wide range of issues, including the safety and security of over one million Jews in the region.

For further comment, please contact NCSEJ Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO Mark B. Levin at MLevin@ncsej.org or at (202) 898-2500.

Russian-U.S. relations will improve under Trump - Jewish leaders
Interfax-Religion, November 9, 2016

The Russian Jewish community links hopes for the improvement of Russian-U.S. relations and policies on Israel to the victory of Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential elections.

"I believe that President Trump will continue the line started by Trump the candidate to improve relations with Russia. I also hope that the new American leader will be able to come away from the chimerical ideas and dreams with which the U.S. policies on Israel was linked for the past 20 years," Alexander Boroda, President of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, told Interfax-Religion on Wednesday.

Ukraine says hopes for continued support against Russia from U.S. under Trump
Reuters, November 9, 2016

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he hoped the United States would continue to support Ukraine in its stand-off with Russia following the victory of Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election.

"The President looks forward to a continuation of U.S support in two important areas: Ukraine's fight against Russian aggression ... and also assistance in the realization of major reforms," Poroshenko was quoted as saying in a statement on Wednesday.

Russian Officials Were in Contact With Trump Campaign, Diplomat Says
By Ivan Nechepurenko

New York Times, November 10, 2016

The Russian government had contact with advisers to Donald J. Trump during the American presidential campaign, one of the country’s top diplomats said Thursday.

“There were contacts,” Sergei A. Ryabkov, the deputy foreign minister, was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. “We continue to do this and have been doing this work during the election campaign,” he said.

European far right revels in Trump victory
JTA, November 9, 2016

Far-right leaders from across Europe congratulated Donald Trump on his victory in the U.S. presidential election, which they celebrated as a historic turning point.

Trump, who alienated large segments of American society during his campaign with rhetoric that many deemed discriminatory to Muslims, Latinos and other groups, was elected Tuesday as the next U.S. president, sweeping to victory in at least 29 states with 288 electoral votes.

Read the full article here.

Is a Trump Presidency Really a Big Win for Putin?
By Reid Standish
Foreign Policy, November 9, 2016

From the baroque halls of the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Donald Trump on his recent victory in the U.S. presidential election on Wednesday. Broadcast live on state television, Putin calmly read his remarks to a room full of ambassadors that the Russian president had just sworn in and outlined a plan for a political solution to Syria and announced that now that Trump will be in the White House, Russia is ready to restore its ties with Washington.
Read the full article here.

To many Russian-Israelis, president Trump is a boon, cast in Putin’s mold
By Simona Weinglass
Times of Israel, November 10, 2016

While the results of the US presidential elections left some Israelis worried and others scratching their heads, there is at least one community — in addition to Orthodox American Israelis — where Donald Trump’s election is seen largely in a positive light.

Read the full article here.

Russia-backed UNESCO resolution on religious monuments on Jerusalem's Temple Mount not aimed against Israel – Medvedev
Interfax-Religion, November 7, 2016

There is no need to politicize UNESCO's resolution supported by Russia on the state of the historical and religious monuments located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and this document is not directed against Israel, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

"It seems to me that there is no need to politicize this decision; certainly it is not aimed against Israel or the people of Israel," Medvedev said in an interview with Channel 2 Israel ahead of his visit to this country.

Read the full article here.

Zionist Youth Movements Celebrate Roots at Limmud FSU Festival Lviv
eJewishPhilanthropy, November 8, 2016

With 900 strong in attendance, this past weekend saw a sold-out 4 day Limmud FSU conference in the Western Ukraine city of Lviv. The conference – marking a decade of Limmud FSU activity in Ukraine – also welcomed senior representatives of the most important Ukrainian Zionist Youth Movements: Beitar, Bnei Akiva, Hanoar Haoved Ve Halomed and Hashomer Hatzair. Two of them, Hashomer Hatzair and Bnei Akiva have deep roots and an extensive history in Lviv.

Bones unearthed during contested dig at Ukrainian former Jewish cemetery
JTA, November 11, 2016

City workers in this western city suspended their digging at a former Jewish cemetery amid controversy over the unearthing of human remains at the site.

The discovery of bones, including pieces of skull and limbs, occurred last week at the Old Jewish Cemetery of Lviv where diggers with heavy machinery excavated a 40-foot trench despite previous objections to works by some members of the local Jewish community.

Read the full article here.

Bobruisk Marks 75 Years Since Extermination of Jews
EJC, November 11, 2016

The Jewish community in Bobruisk, Belarus, commemorated 75 years since the extermination of Bobruisk ghetto during the Holocaust in three days of memorial events that concluded Sunday.

About 14,000 Bobruisk Jews were killed during those horrific days of the war, erasing forever the lively Jewish flare of the city.

Russian MP Affirms Jews’ Temple Mount Ties, Foreign Minister Calls Israel’s UNESCO Reaction ‘Over the Top’
By David Israel
JewishPress, November 8, 2016

A delegation of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday held meetings at the Russian Federation Council — the upper house of the country’s Federal Assembly. Addressing the criticism of Russia’s vote in favor of UNESCO’s resolution which ignores the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the chairman of the Council of the Federation Committee on Foreign Affairs, Konstantin Kosachev, said Russia has never questioned the Jews’ right to the Temple Mount, nor has it questioned the right of others to the holy site.

Read the full article here.

Netanyahu to Russian PM: Red line needed on Iranian nukes, bases in Syria
Jerusalem Post, November 10, 2016

Iran must be prevented from producing nuclear weapons and from placing its military bases in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Russian counterpart Dimitry Medvedev on Thursday.

He spoke against the dangers facing Israel and the Middle East, with a focus on Iran, ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism, during an afternoon meeting in his Jerusalem office.

European Parliament head reiterates support for restitution
JTA, November 4, 2016

Amid growing pressure on Poland and other Eastern European countries to offer full restitution for plundered Jewish property, the European Parliament’s president reiterated his support for such moves.

Martin Schulz, whose European Parliament has passed two resolutions in the 1990s calling for restitution, spoke about the issue in a letter he sent last month to Gunnar Hökmark, a lawmaker from Sweden and chair of the European Alliance for Holocaust Survivors.

Pro-Russian candidate wins first round of Bulgarian election
By Tsvetelia Tsolova
Reuters, November 7, 2016

Socialist-backed candidate Rumen Radev, who has called for an end to European Union sanctions against Russia, won the first round of Bulgaria's presidential election, partial official results showed on Monday.

Radev's close-fought victory over ruling party candidate Tsetska Tsacheva makes the former air force commander favorite to win a run-off on Sunday, a result that could bring the Black Sea state politically closer to Russia.

Read the full article here.

Saakashvili Lashes Out At Poroshenko, Quits As Odesa Governor
By Christopher Miller
RFE/RL, November 7, 2016

The boisterous former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has resigned as governor of Ukraine's turbulent Odesa region, accusing the Ukrainian president of dishonesty and the central government of sabotaging crucial reforms.
Read the full article here.

Montenegro Says Russian 'Nationalists' Were Behind Plot To Kill Djukanovic
RFE/RL, November 6, 2016

Authorities in Montenegro say an investigation shows that Russian nationalists were behind an alleged coup attempt that included a plot to assassinate the country’s pro-Western leader because of his plans to have the Balkan nation join NATO.

Read the full article here.
Estonian PM faces confidence vote after coalition collapses
AFP, November 8, 2016

Estonia's Prime Minister Taavi Roivas on Tuesday refused to step down a day after his three-party coalition collapsed, opting instead to face a confidence vote in parliament, reports said.

The small Baltic eurozone and NATO member that is due to assume the EU's rotating presidency in the second half of 2017 plunged into political chaos on Monday.

Read the full article here.
Referendum Proposed for 'Russian Nation' Law
The Moscow Times, November 9, 2016

Russia's Ombudsman for Human Rights Tatiana Moskalkova has proposed a referendum to decide whether the government should adopt a recently proposed "law on the Russian nation."
"The key word is the people. I think this is a question for a referendum," Moskalkova told journalists.

She explained that while such legislation might appear attractive, it shouldn't be associated with a single people or even a "titular nationality," as this "might offend other peoples, ethnic groups, and nationalities."

Read the full article here.
Schindler factory to host Holocaust memorial
Times of Israel/AFP, November 9, 2016

A disused factory in the Czech Republic where German industrialist Oskar Schindler employed more than a thousand Jews to save them from the gas chambers is to host a Holocaust memorial, officials said Tuesday.

Parts of the complex in Brnenec (Bruennlitz in German), close to Schindler’s birthplace in Svitavy (Zwittau), were given the status of cultural monument earlier this month, according to the Czech culture ministry.
In Moldova, Smears, Orthodox Church Target Pro-EU Candidate Ahead Of Runoff
By Charles Recknagel
RFE/RL, November 10, 2016

As Moldova's presidential election heads for a runoff vote on November 13, pro-EU candidate Maia Sandu has become the target of increasing smear attacks by supporters of rival pro-Moscow candidate, Igor Dodon.

The attacks include a high-ranking leader of the powerful Moldovan Orthodox Church casting doubts on Sandu's morality because the candidate, 44, is neither married nor a mother. The church is part of the Russian Orthodox Church seated in Moscow, which is a strong supporter of the Kremlin.
Four Swift Blows to Putin’s Influence in Europe
Atlantic Council, November 7, 2016

Moscow retains substantial influence in Europe. However, its ability to leverage that influence against Ukraine appears to be declining, as four decisions over the past two months illustrate.

Moscow’s intervention in Syria is weakening the Kremlin’s position vis a vis Ukraine in the views of European policymakers. This was evident on October 16 at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which dealt a major blow against Moscow’s disinformation campaign. The single most important lie in Moscow’s effort to ease sanctions and reduce EU support for Ukraine is that the war in the Donbas is a Ukrainian civil war, rather than a hybrid war that is led, supplied, and financed from Moscow, and involves significant numbers of Russian troops.
Struggling Belarus turns wary eyes to the west
By Henry Foy and Courtney Fingar
Financial Times, November 8, 2016

When Belarus’s autocratic president told parliament that his country was “flying with one wing”, many saw it as an important contribution in the political conflict over the economic future of the republic. At issue is whether to reach out to the west, or not.
At 25 is Ukraine any closer to Europe?
By Joanna Fomina
New Eastern Europe, November 8, 2016

Ukraine as an independent state has turned 25. It is a difficult age in human years: full of contradictions and alternating states of elation and frustration, potency and powerlessness. The time when a young adult, one desperately tries to carve out one’s individual space, but finds it hard to cut the umbilical cord. It is an age when one has a clear idea about who his or her friends (or foes) are, but is still uncertain about what is really important in life. At 25, we often hide our inexperience behind conservatism and our self-doubt behind paraded pride.

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Founded in 1971, NCSEJ represents the organized American Jewish community in monitoring and advocating on behalf of the estimated 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, including the 15 successor states of the former Soviet Union.