In an unfortunate development this week, a group of Ukrainian nationalists destroyed a Hassidic tent city in Uman, Ukraine, which draws tens of thousands Hassidic pilgrims each year. Unfortunately, local authorities failed to intervene and ensure the safety of the pilgrims. Despite the destruction of the tents, pilgrimage continues.
Jewish emigration from Ukraine continues to rise. Aliyah from Ukraine since last Rosh Hashanah totaled 6,900, increasing by 50% compared to last year.
Israel voiced concern about Russia's military buildup in Syria to prop-up the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. According to recent reports, Russia is sending troops and military advisers to Syria, and plans to set up an air base near the town of Latakia. U.S. officials also expressed unease about Russia's intentions in Syria. The update includes a couple of articles that detail the development.
In the largest protest since Moldova's independence, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets to demonstrate against prevalent corruption in the country. The protesters demand drastic reforms and call on the government to resign. Russian state media has portrayed the protests as another Western attempt to orchestrate a 'color revolution' in the region.
I want to recommend a Washington Post article by Marvin Kalb that analyzes President Putin's objectives in Ukraine, and his success in creating a 'frozen conflict' in Donbas.
Today we mark the 14th anniversary of September 11 events. It should be a time of remembrance and reflection.
Finally, I want to wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year.