Ukrainian President Makes Historic State Visit to Israel

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)

Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, arrived on a state visit to Israel on Tuesday, December 22. Thus far, Poroshenko has met with the Speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

According to the Russain-Ukrainian news agency, Interfax, the Ukrainian leader was initially supposed to pay an official visit to Israel, but the Israeli authorities upgraded it to a state visit several days before the trip.

“The history of the Jewish nation and the Ukrainian nation go hand in hand,” said Prime Minister Netanyahu to President Poroshenko during his reception.

“Many of the founding fathers and the cultural heroes of modern Israel come from the Ukraine; our national poet Bialik was born in the Ukraine as well as Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky.”

According to reports by Ukrinform News, Ukraine’s national news agency, a number of bilateral documents and agreements were signed by the leaders of Israel and Ukraine in their meeting. An accord on free trade area between Ukraine and Israel will be signed in the first half of 2016, said Poroshenko to Ukrainian media.

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Prime Minster Netanyahu’s media bureau has confirmed today that these bilateral agreements include matters such as technological and financial cooperation and investment, mutual diplomatic understandings and a ratification of a previously signed cultural and cinematic cooperation.

Poroshenko concluded his meeting with Netanyahu, saying “I hope that Israeli investments into the Ukrainian economy will grow significantly.”

“I am very interested in advancing a free-trade area between Israel and the Ukraine. We especially hold the hi-tech cooperation as important to us seeing that Israel is a well-known world leader in technology,” said Poroshenko.

In addition to signing trade agreements, Poroshenko also visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum and met with representatives of the Ukrainian community in Israel.

During President Poroshenko’s meeting with President Rivlin, the Ukrainian leader thanked the State of Israel “for rendering financial and medical assistance to the citizens of Ukraine, who were injured during the Revolution of Dignity and military actions in the anti-terrorist operation area in Donbas.”