Does your self-defense unit contain other Jews?
In my unit are four Israelis with military experience, who, like me, came to Euromaidan with a desire to avoid useless sacrifice. I would say that our whole group are “blue helmets” (an analogy with UN peacekeepers). The mood is quite nervous at the Independence Square; many people want to avenge the blood of the victims, even more are tired of the inaction of the opposition – all these hotheads are full of illusions about what real battles are like and, accordingly, can’t imagine the consequences. They also don’t realize that on the other side of the barricades are people too, so our actions must not defame Euromaidan with a human face.
Have you encountered, not even outright anti-Semitism, but any condescendence? Do they see you as an outsider?
There was no shadow of such sentiments. I talked since the first days with Right Sector and the UNA-UNSO – with all the people that in peacetime would be unlikely to find common ground. I see myself exclusively as a Jew, and religious. Under my command are dozens of resistance fighters, Georgians, Azerbaijanis, Armenians, Russians – who do not even try to speak Ukrainian – and we have not encountered a manifestation of intolerance towards each other. All of them have respect for my religion – they already know what I eat, what not to eat, etc. and it has not caused any animosity.