Israelis will spend their holidays in Western Ukraine

Today, news and stories from Ukraine occupy a significant portion of airtime worldwide. The news is not always happy and truthful. In some countries, information about what is happening in Ukraine is perceived as a terrible television series, something fictional and something that does not concern them personally. There are countries where the events in Ukraine are taken to heart. One of them is Israel.

Desire to help and not indifferent attitude to the people of Ukraine have very simple explanations: firstly, Israel is the country that has been in the state of war during almost all of its history and secondly, a significant part of the population of Israel is of Ukrainian descent. Many of them consider Ukraine to be their historic homeland, the land where their ancestors lived and the land with a number of sites, which are sacred for the Jews. Jewish population was a significant part of the population of Western Ukraine until the end of 19th century, for example, in Lviv only Jews accounted for 25% of the population.

Today, the number of Jews in Ukraine has decreased significantly. Of course, there is a range of Jewish organizations that support traditions and culture of Jews, but most of their activities are local. In order to develop relations and tighten links between the Western region of Ukraine and Israel the Honorary Consulate of Israel will be opened in Lviv on 28th of May. Oleg Vyshniakov took office of the Honorary Consul of Israel in Western Ukraine in November 2014.

For the last 4 months a number of activities were held under the patronage of the Honorary Consul. In particular, since last December Israeli psychologists have come to Ukraine to conduct free trainings for the Ukrainian colleagues who work with those returning from the ATO area. A business forum for the Ukrainian and Israeli businessmen is planned to be conducted in autumn under the patronage of the Consulate and with the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine as well. Upon the initiative of the Honorary Consul, investors from Israel discussed a number of projects in Western Ukraine. One of them is dedicated to the construction of a plant in Lviv for mounting of oil production pumps. A Cultural Center at the Honorary Consulate was opened and a number of public events were held there.

This is only a small part of the planned activities. According to Oleg Vyshniakov, the main task for today is to make Israelis aware of Ukraine, give them truthful information about the Ukrainian market and prospects for cooperation with the Ukrainian businessmen, about safety and comfort of the tourist trips to the Western region of Ukraine.

To solve this problem, a direct flight Lviv-Tel Aviv-Lviv will be launched on 20th of May with the support of Mr. Vyshniakov and at the initiative of the UIA.

A promotional tour to the Western region of Ukraine for Israeli journalists and representatives of travel agencies was organized with the help of the Honorary Consul and the Lviv City and Regional State Administrations. Within three days, the Israelis have visited Lviv, Drohobych, Truskavets, picturesque villages Korostyshiv and Zhovkva and town of Belz. They visited architectural sites, hotels and recreation centers, historical places of Jewish culture and architecture. Israeli tourists enjoyed Ukrainian cuisine and hospitality.

Before flying back to Israel, journalists had a meeting with the Honorary Consul. Israelis were impressed by the beauty of Western Ukraine and unique zest of Lviv. According to the journalists, many people of Israel will be glad to come to their historic homeland, if they are sure that this trip is safe and comfortable.

This promotional tour is the first step in presenting Ukraine to the Israelis. Oleg Vyshniakov assured that such promotional tours are very important. In such a way foreigners can make their own opinion about Ukraine, without relying on false information sources and rumours. The Honorary Consul promised to do everything possible to develop such tours. He also invited journalists to visit the opening ceremony of the Honorary Consulate in Lviv on 28th of May.