Netanyahu Promises to Facilitate Ukrainian Immigrant Pensions

netanyahu ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu attend a news briefing following their talks in Kiev, Monday. (Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promised on Monday to advance a never-implemented agreement to give Ukrainian immigrants living in Israel access to pensions from their home country.

PM Netanyahu, on a two-day visit to Ukraine, said Israel would furnish Ukraine with more information about those immigrants who are eligible for pensions, to facilitate payments, The Times of Israel reported. The pension matter and the visit in general were seen by Israeli commentators as a move to improve Netanyahu’s image with voters from the Ukraine ahead of the September elections.

In addition, bilateral agreements were signed to promote agricultural cooperation, patent processing, and the study of Hebrew at educational institutions in Ukraine and the study of Ukrainian at educational institutions in Israel.

“Israel remains one of Ukraine’s key trading partners in the Middle East,” Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky said. “Our total trade turnover exceeded $1 billion. This amount will increase significantly due to the signing of the FTA agreement between Ukraine and Israel, which, I hope, Israel will soon ratify.”

Netanyahu said that the Knesset will vote on the matter after next month’s elections.

Earlier in the day, Zelensky announced that Ukraine will open a high tech and investment center in Yerushalayim. Zelensky spoke after meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu in Kiev.

In opening an official office in Yerushalayim, Ukraine is following the Czech Republic and Australia, which have opened official offices in the capital, but kept their embassies in Tel Aviv.

Zelensky said that Ukraine has “something to learn from Israel, especially in security and defense, and we will of course be doing that.”

PM Netanyahu’s visit began Monday morning with a visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a monument to the Holodomor – the man-made famine in the Soviet Ukraine in 1932-1933 that killed millions.

After a meeting at the Presidential Palace, Zelensky and Netanyahu visited Babi Yar for a memorial ceremony at the site where some 34,000 Jews were murdered by the Nazis and Ukrainian collaborators in September 1941, Hy”d.

Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who was born in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, and Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely also participated in the meetings with Ukrainian officials.

Netanyahu invited Zelensky to reciprocate with a visit to Yerushalayim.

The prime minister is scheduled to return to Israel on Tuesday.

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