During a meeting of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians in Jerusalem, Ukrainian MP (BYuT faction) Oleksandr Feldman discussed the possibility of recognizing Metropolitan of the Greek Catholic Church Andrei Sheptytsky as a Righteous among the Nations. It is common knowledge that during World War II he established one of Europe’s largest underground networks in Western Ukraine to save Jewish families from the Nazis’ punitive actions. Today, there is still prejudice against Sheptytsky in the Jewish world, an attitude that was partly formed in Soviet times by Kremlin propagandists and reactionary Jewish organizations.
“I am sure that Israel’s recognition of Andrei Sheptytsky as a Righteous among the Nations would be a key factor that could have a positive effect on the dialogue between Kyiv and Tel Aviv, a dialogue on which the destinies of many Jews living in Ukraine depend,” Feldman told The Day. “Ukrainian society views Sheptytsky as a symbol of the nation and state’s struggle for independence. The Ukrainian Jews whom the Greek Catholic metropolitan saved from the Nazi butchers later revived Israel. I think we must ask them who Andrei Sheptytsky really was. I know that there are people in Israel who share my opinion, and as a Ukrainian parliamentarian and an ethnic Jew, I am going to do my best to have the question of recognizing Sheptytsky as a Righteous among the World discussed at the highest level.”
Today, the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians (MREPS) embraces representatives of the legislatures of 28 countries in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Experts unofficially call the council one of the world’s largest Jewish lobbies. This year the forum was attended by Acting Prime Minister of Israel Shimon Peres, while the Ukrainian MP Oleksandr Feldman was elected council vice-president for Eurasia and the CIS. Feldman raised the question of recognizing Sheptytsky as a Righteous among the Nations as the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians was debating inter-religious tolerance and the preservation of inter-confessional peace.