“It is not an exaggeration to say that Israel’s past experience inspires the citizens of Ukraine,” said Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska.
By Pesach Benson, United with Israel
Israeli resilience in the face of constant threats from neighbors is a source of encouragement for Ukraine, Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska told Israel’s Channel 12 News on Sunday.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that Israel’s past experience inspires the citizens of Ukraine,” the wife Ukrainian President Voldymir Zelensky said during the interview by video link. In Ukrainian, the feminine version of the name Zelensky is Zelenska.
“We see the Israelis’ strength and power of resilience in the difficult situation Israel has been in for many years. Your resilience serves as an example for us,” said Zelenska.
She also expressed special appreciation for Israeli assistance in health care.
“As you know, Ukraine’s health system is overloaded. That’s why I’m asking for help for Ukraine in any way possible,” Zelenska said.
“According to estimates from the Ukrainian health ministry, roughly 15 million Ukrainian citizens will need help in the area of mental health, so we had no time to waste, we needed to start acting immediately,” Zelenska said.
In recent weeks, two delegations of mental health professionals from abroad arrived in Israel to learn from the Jewish state’s trauma experts with the goal of helping Ukrainians.
Zelenska stressed that her biggest fear is that Ukraine will fade from Western consciousness as the war with Russia drags on.
“New crises are popping up all over the world, so maybe people will forget about Ukraine as they’ve forgotten about other crises,” Zelenska said.
“This is exactly what the attacking side wants to achieve. It’s waiting for everyone to get tired, to flood the world with information about economic problems and other issues to silence the voice of Ukraine.”
The 44-year-old First Lady met her husband in high school, but they only became close in university. A student of architecture, she joined Zelensky’s team of scriptwriters who prepared comedic sketches. The couple has two children, ages nine and 18.