History of Ukrainian - Israeli Relations
Although both Ukraine and Israel are relatively young states the history of relations between Ukrainian and Israeli nations traces back to the ancient times.
Starting from the 11th century, relations between Ukraine and then Palestine were developing on a religious basis. During the XI-XII centuries the pilgrims - hegumen Danylo and hegumen Varlaam, visited the Holy Land. After the WWI, the first Ukrainian colony was established on the Palestinian land. It expanded during the WWI due to the Ukrainians from the Polish military corps. Over the period of 1942-1948, a Ukrainian community led by the colonel Bazylevskyi lived on the land of Palestine. The number of people in the group was not more than several dozen. Due to these people's efforts, a stone plate with the Ukrainian version of the text of the Lord Prayer was blessed. The whole event happened in the Pater Noster cathedral on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem in 1947.
On the other hand, Jewish people have lived in Ukraine for centuries. Many brilliant pieces of creative work of Jewish literature, philosophy and religion were born in Ukraine. Many famous personalities, including Israel’s former Prime ministers Golda Meir and Levi Eshkol, whose names are connected with Ukraine, significantly contributed to the formation and development of the State of Israel.
The histories of Ukrainian and Jewish peoples have very much in common: for centuries Ukrainians, just like Jews, were denied the right for their own state. They were scattered throughout the countries of the world; and sustained considerable losses as a result of Stalin’s repressions and WWII. But the time changed and in late 1940s Ukraine as one of the UN founding members was among active supporters of the Jewish people to have their dream come true and reestablish their own state on the historical land. On the other hand, Israel was among the first countries to recognize sovereign Ukrainian state. Then the dominating majority of the population including Jews, residing in Ukraine, voted for its independence on December 1, 1991.
The State of Israel recognized Ukraine’s independence on December 25, 1991. The next day diplomatic relations between Ukraine and Israel were established. In 2016, Ukraine and Israel marked 25 years of the establishment of the diplomatic relations.
Ukrainian Embassy in Tel-Aviv has been operating since October 1992 and the Embassy of Israel in Kyiv was opened at the beginning of 1993.
President of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk paid the first high-level visit to Israel in January 1993.
Further development of bilateral relations was facilitated by the state visit of President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma to Israel in 1996. During the visit, the Joint Declaration on Deepening and Further Development of Mutual Relations, Partnership and Cooperation between Ukraine and the State of Israel was signed.
The signing of the Agreement on visa-free trips of citizens of Ukraine and Israel was a significant event in the bilateral relations. Visa-free regime between Ukraine and Israel was introduced on February 9, 2011.
Trade and economic cooperation is one of the most successful areas of cooperation between our states. The Free Trade Agreement between Ukraine and Israel which was signed on January 21, 2019 and came into force in January 2021 the became a significant event in bilateral relations. Effective implementation of this important document will bring bilateral cooperation to a new level, especially by removing existing barriers to trade, companies from Ukraine and Israel will gain greater access to each other’s markets, thus intensifying business activities.
Ukraine’s traditional export to Israel are ferrous metals, grain, chemical products, food stuffs, precious stones and metals, cereals, lumber etc. Major commodity goods that Israel exports to Ukraine include rubber and plastics, equipment and machinery, chemical products, fruits and vegetables etc.
Since 1994 both in Ukrainian (the Verkhovna Rada) and in Israeli (Knesset) parliaments there have been operating parliamentary friendship groups “Ukraine-Israel” and “Israel-Ukraine”.
Today over 500 thousand immigrants from Ukraine are Israeli residents. Most of them arrived at the land of their ancestors in 1990s. There are about 30 fellow-countrymen associations of Jews having their roots in Ukraine.
Among those who have immigrated to Israel there are approximately 35 000 of ethnic Ukrainians, members of mixed families that received Israeli citizenship and have a permanent status of Israeli residents.
There are good prospects for further development of the Ukrainian-Israeli relations with “human factor” as an important element of this relationship. The leadership of both countries shows the interest to the development of mutual contacts. The interest is also based on strong opportunities for bilateral cooperation in trade and economic, scientific, cultural and humanitarian areas.
Political cooperation. Meetings. Visits.
On the Heads of the State’s level
23-24.01.2020 – working visit to Israel of President of Ukraine V.Zelenskyy.
20-21.01.2019 – official visit to Israel of President of Ukraine P.Poroshenko.
24.01.2018 - meeting of the President of Ukraine P.Poroshenko with the Prime Minister of Israel B.Netanyahu in the framework of the Davos World Economic Forum.
29-30.09.2016 – working visit to Israel of President of Ukraine P.Poroshenko.
27-28.09.2016 - state visit to Ukraine of President of the State of Israel R.Rivlin.
22-23.12.2015 - state visit to Israel of President of Ukraine P.Poroshenko and his spouse M.Poroshenko.
20.09.2013 - President of Israel Sh.Peres attended the 10th annual Yalta meeting «Yes», held in Yalta.
30.11-01.12.2011 – state visit of President of Ukraine V.Yanukovych to the State of Israel.
15-16.09.2011 – President of Israel Sh.Peres attended the 8th annual Yalta meeting «Ukraine and the world: Shared Challenges, Common Future «Yes», held in Yalta.
23-26.11.2010 – state visit of President of the State of Israel Sh.Peres to Ukraine.
22.09.2010 – President of Ukraine V. Yanukovych met with President of the State of Israel Sh. Peres in the framework of the UN General Assembly meeting.
13.05.2008 – President of Ukraine V.Yushchenko paid a working visit to Israel.
13-15.11.2007 – state visit of Ukrainian President V.Yushchenko to Israel.
September 2006 – the second meeting between President of Ukraine V.Yushchenko and President of Israel M.Katsav in the framework of the international forum commemorated victims of the Babyn Yar in Kyiv.
February 2005 – the meeting between President of Ukraine V.Yushchenko and President of Israel M.Katsav in Poland.
January 2001 – visit to Ukraine of President of the State of Israel M.Katsav.
24-26.11.1996 – state visit to Israel of Ukrainian President L.Kuchma.
11-13.01.1993 – visit to Israel of President of Ukraine L.Kravchuk.
On the inter-parliamentary level
29-31.05.2018 - official visit to Israel of Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine A.Parubiy.
12-14.06.2017 - visit to Israel of the delegation of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, headed by Chairman of the Committee G.Gopko.
23-25.11.2016 – official visit to Ukraine of Speaker of the Knesset of the State of Israel Y.Edelstein.
29.10.2017, 07.06.2016 and 10.09.2015 – joint meetings of the Inter-parliamentary group of friendship “Ukraine-Israel”.
19-20.01.2004 – visit to Israel of Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine V.Lytvyn and the official delegation of the Ukrainian parliament.
27.10-3.11.1993 – visit to Israel of Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine I.Pliusch.
14-17.06.1993 – visit to Ukraine of Speaker of the Knesset of the State of Israel Sh.Weiss.
On the Heads of the governments’ level
18-20.08.2019 - official visit of Prime Minister B.Netanyahu to Ukraine.
23-25.07.2018 - visit of First Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine - Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine Stepan Kubiv to the State of Israel.
14-16.05.2017 - an official visit to Israel of Prime Minister of Ukraine V.Groysman
26-27.11.2013 – visit to Israel of the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine K.Gryschenko, who headed Ukrainian state delegation during the 8th meeting of the Ukrainian-Israeli intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation.
17-19.06.2013 – a working visit to Israel of the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine K.Gryschenko.
March 2011 - an official visit to Israel of Prime Minister of Ukraine M.Azarov.
September 2004 – a working visit to Israel of Prime Minister of Ukraine V.Yanukovych.
March 1999 – an official visit to Ukraine of Prime Minister of Israel B.Netanyahu.
September 1995 – visit to Ukraine of Prime Minister of Israel I.Rabin.
On the foreign ministers’ level
18-19.06.2018 - working visit to Israel of Minister of foreign affairs of Ukraine P.Klimkin, who headed Ukrainian delegation during the 11th meeting of the Ukrainian-Israeli intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation.
25-28.11.2017 - official visit to Israel of Minister of foreign affairs of Ukraine P.Klimkin.
23.12.2015 – during the state visit to Israel of President of Ukraine P.Poroshenko, Minister of foreign affairs of Ukraine P.Klimkin held a meeting with Minister of immigration and absorption and Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Z.Elkin.
11-13.02.2015 - a visit to Ukraine of Minister of foreign affairs of the State of Israel A.Liberman.
22-23.10.2014 - a visit of Minister of foreign affairs of Ukraine P.Klimkin to the State of Israel.
28.09.2012 – the meeting between Minister of foreign affairs of Ukraine K.Gryshchenko and Deputy prime minister, minister of foreign affairs of the State of Israel A.Liberman in the framework of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
12-14.07.2012 - Deputy prime minister, minister of foreign affairs of the State of Israel A.Liberman paid an official visit to Ukraine and visited two Ukrainian cities – Yalta and Vinnitsya.
30.11-01.12.2011 - Minister of foreign affairs of Ukraine K.Gryshchenko accompanied President of Ukraine V.Yanukovych during his state visit to the State of Israel.
11-14.11.2011 - Minister of foreign affairs of Ukraine K.Gryshchenko paid a working visit to the State of Israel.
2-4.10.2011- Deputy prime minister, minister of foreign affairs of the State of Israel A.Liberman led the Israeli government delegation to participate in the commemorative events dedicated to the 70-th anniversary of the Babyn Yar tragedy in Ukraine.
24-26.10.2010 - Minister of foreign affairs of Israel A.Liberman accompanied President of Israel Sh.Peres during his official visit to Ukraine.
21-22.07.2010 – an official visit of Minister for foreign affairs of Ukraine K.Gryshchenko to the State of Israel.
25-28.02.2010 - Deputy prime minister, minister of foreign affairs of Israel A.Liberman participated in the inauguration ceremony of the President-elect V.Yanukovych in Kyiv.
5-9.12.2009 - Deputy prime minister, minister of foreign affairs of Israel A.Liberman visited Ukraine.
11-13.07.2004 – Minister of foreign affairs of Ukraine K.Gryshchenko paid an official visit to the State of Israel.
26.12.2002 – First deputy prime minister, minister of foreign affairs of Israel Sh.Peres visited Ukraine.