Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky announced Saturday the agency's decision to give immediate emergency relief to the Jewish community in Ukraine and to strengthen security at Jewish institutions in the country.
The Jewish Agency will begin a fundraising campaign to help pay for the heightened security it will provide in Ukraine.
"The Jewish community in Ukraine, which has about 200,000 members, is a thriving community with dozens of active Jewish institutions," Sharansky said. "Recent events have taught us that we must work to increase the security at these institutions."
Sharansky held an emergency meeting Thursday evening at his Jerusalem office to asses the situation and to learn about the immediate needs of Ukrainian Jews in the wake of the unrest in Kiev. Local Jewish leaders expressed their concerns to the Jewish Agency about what may happen if the situation worsens.
Each year around 2,000 Jews move to Israel from Ukraine, and tens of thousands more participate in Jewish Agency activities to strengthen their Jewish identity and to deepen their connection with Israel. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, some 330,000 Jews have moved from Ukraine to Israel.