WASHINGTON, D.C. March 13, 2015
TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties
FROM: Stephen M. Greenberg, Chairman;
Alexander Smukler, NCSEJ President;
Mark B. Levin, NCSEJ Executive Director
On Wednesday, the IMF approved a long-awaited $17.5 billion package for Ukraine, after Ukraine's parliament passed a package of reforms, including pension cuts and an increase in natural gas prices. The IMF agreed to disburse funds quickly, with $5 billion expected by week's end and another $5 billion to be distributed over the next few months. However, many economists believe that the aid will not be enough to address Ukraine's severe economic downfall, including soaring inflation and contracting GDP.
This week's update also includes a Voice of America story on how the crisis in Ukraine is affecting the elderly in the zone of conflict. Many of the elderly are in poor health, don't have access to medical care, and need psychological support. Our community is responding through JDC, which assists the elderly in the areas of conflict and throughout Ukraine.
At a time of great partisan divide in Washington, it appears that the support for providing Ukraine with defensive weapons is bringing together the two sides of the aisle. The administration this week announced a $75 million package in non-lethal aid to Ukraine, but Congressional Republicans and Democrats both believe Ukraine needs more assistance to defend its territorial integrity.
The issue of providing Ukraine with adequate military and other support dominated a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Ukraine this week. The weekly update includes a summary of the hearing.
Last Friday, NCSEJ organized a meeting for American Jewish community representatives with Chairman of Georgia's parliament David Usupashvili, in Washington. Issues discussed included the situation in the region, the crisis in Ukraine, Georgia's Jewish community, and the country's relations with the United States and Israel. During the meeting, Chairman Usupashvili reiterated Georgia's commitment to democratic values and to a close partnership with the United States and Europe.
Mark B. Levin
Please visit http://ncsej.org/NCSEJ-Wkly.pdf
for NCSEJ's Weekly News Update.