By COLlive reporter
Heads of state have begun visiting the Kotel in Jerusalem Wednesday, due to the arrival of delegations for the World Holocaust Forum taking place at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem Thursday to mark 75 years since the liberation Auschwitz–Birkenau.
Among the leaders are President Emanuel Macron of France, President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson of Iceland, President Željko Komšić of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and President Salome Zourabichvili of Georgia, who all had a personal prayer by the stones of the last remnant of the Beis Hamikdash.
The Ukrainian delegation to Israel, led by President Volodymyr Zelensky, announced that it would give up its spots at the Yad Vashem ceremony for Holocaust survivors.
Instead, the President paid a visit to the Western Wall Plaza and was greeted by the Kotel’s Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, and by the Director of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, Mr. Mordechai (Suli) Eliav.
Zelensky, who is Jewish, heard an explanation about the new discoveries found recently in excavations at the Western Wall.
Rabbi Rabinowitz along with Rabbi Moshe Asman of Kiev and Rabbi Shalom Arosh recited chapters of Tehillim with the President and he placed a note with a personal prayer between the stones of the Wall.
Yed Vashem criticized Zelensky: “His decision is puzzling, and it is a pity to take such a step in an event called ‘Remember the Holocaust to fight anti-Semitism’.”
Before traveling to Israel, Zelensky expressed disappointment that he will not be given the opportunity to prominently speak at Yad Vashem. He said he wanted to honor the many Jews that were murdered on his country’s soil during the Second World War.