A football match between Kiev Dinamo and Donetsk Metallurg took place last Sunday in the National Kiev Stadium. When there is no Moscow team playing, Ukrainian football fans very actively follow two Ukrainian teams: Shakhter (Miner) and Metallurg (they both come from the city of Donetsk). The Kiev team won the game with a score of 2:0. Crowds of the excited fans went out in Kiev streets, screaming, singing songs, and becoming a very big danger to anyone and anything around them.
However, noone was expecting a group of young people to head to the central Jewish synagogue of Kiev with stones in their hands. The synagogue is situated only three or four minutes walk from the football stadium.
At about 8 p.m., a group of skinheads (about 20 of them) attacked the Jewish synagogue in the center of Kiev under the disguise of football fans. They beat up the people they could get outside the synagogue and broke almost all the windows of the building, throwing stones at them and screaming “Beat Jews!” The men knocked down one of the doors of the central entrance and started throwing stones at the people who were inside the building at the evening prayer. Stones and bricks damaged some of the chairs in the hall of the synagogue.
The hooligans had already left when the police arrived to the site of the mess. The Ukrainian Security Service started an investigation. There are two versions of the incident. The first one is simple: the pogrom was arranged by football fans for their own “entertainment.” The other one says that the synagogue was ambushed not by football fans but by skinheads, which means that it was all organized and planned beforehand. The guys were following the example of their Nazi “teachers” of the past, yelling anti-Israel mottoes, allegedly supporting the Palestinian intifada.
We must say that the results were impressive. The guys beat two Ukrainian citizens and caused considerable damage to the temple. The synagogue was guarded, but the security did not manage to detain any of the hooligans.
There were eight people detained as of Monday morning. All of them are football fans. However, there is one problem: there is no connection between football and Yasser Arafat. The version about the deliberately planned attack seems to be more likely.
If it was just another demonstration of the anti-Semite sentiments of the “common” football fans, then such an incident makes us think of the sentiments of the population on the whole. It should also be mentioned here that there was recently a demonstration of Palestinians in Kiev (those, who reside in Ukraine’s capital). They were actively exercising their emotions, walking around with their slogans; they also blocked traffic on one of the busiest roads in Kiev. The police treated that action with understanding, and there was noone arrested or detained.
Alexander Gorobets PRAVDA.Ru Kiev Ukraine
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
On the photo: The central Synagogue in Kiev