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(RNS) — Public hearings in the presidential impeachment inquiry began Wednesday (Nov. 13), as witnesses marched to a congressional office building to offer televised testimonies on whether President Donald Trump linked military aid for Ukraine with a promise to investigate one of his political opponents, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Behind the scenes there are others, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s Ukrainian-American business associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. (The two were allegedly involved in helping Trump remove Marie Yovanovitch as ambassador to Ukraine.) And then, of course, there’s Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky who Trump pressured to investigate Biden in a July 25 phone conversation. Parnas, Fruman and Zelensky are also Jewish.
Scholars - Coincidence - Connection - Notes - Light
Why is that? Scholars say it’s mostly a coincidence, and there’s certainly no connection between the four, but there are a few intriguing historical notes that might shed light on this curious set of circumstances.
The population of Ukraine is overwhelmingly Christian; the vast majority — up to two-thirds — identify as Orthodox, according to the CIA’s World Factbook. A minority are Catholic. Jews comprise less than 1% of the population.
Part - Emigres - United - States - Number
But here’s the interesting part: Many Ukrainian emigres to the United States — like a large number of emigres from the former Soviet Union — are Jewish.
In fact, Vindman, Parnas and Fruman were able to immigrate to the U.S. precisely because they are Jewish. In the late 1980s, as the Soviet Union was tottering and its republics began declaring their independence, Soviet leaders opened the doors to emigration.
Jews - Israel - Law - Return - Jews
For Jews it was especially easy to leave. Israel’s Law of Return gave Jews the right to Israeli citizenship. And the U.S. granted all Russian-speaking Jews refugee status.
Beginning in the late 1980s, as many as 1.8 million Russian-speaking Jews from across the former Soviet Union left. About 1 million went to...
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