Lviv Mayor: "Israel is the country of the future and an example for Ukraine"

Andrii Sadovyi at the opening ceremony of the Israeli Honorary Consulate in Lviv, May 2015.

The mayor of the largest city of Western Ukraine Andrii Sadovyi became the first high-ranking Ukrainian guest to visit Israel in 2017.

The mayor of Lviv has strong and established contacts with Israel. On the municipal level of relations, Sadovyi has visited Jerusalem repeatedly at the invitation of the Israeli capital’s mayor. In May 2015 Sadovyi gave his full support to the opening in Lviv of an Honorary Consulate of the State of Israel in Western Ukraine under the auspices of the honorary consul Oleh Vishnyakov.

The mayor made great efforts to open direct flights between Tel Aviv and Lviv, which has resulted in a flow of Israeli tourists to the capital of Halychyna. The "LvivKlezFest" international music festival and the Israeli educational "Limmud" conference have been held under the patronage of the Lviv mayor and have attracted thousands of foreign guests to the city. The "Space of Synagogues" was opened in Lviv’s old city in 2016; Sadovyi was considered the “engine” behind this project, which renovated a part of the Jewish quarter.

From left to right: Hon. Consul of Israel in Western Ukraine Oleh Vishnyakov, Mayor Andrii Sadovyi, head of the FSU Department of the Israeli Foreign Ministry Yakov Livne, and Ambassador of Israel to Ukraine Eliav Belotzerkovsky at Lviv City Hall.

The head of the Lviv City Department of Health Volodymyr Zub joined the mayor on his trip to Israel in January 2017.

"We flew there to better study the experience of medicine in Israel. I was interested in the situation with trauma, considering the war in Ukraine. We therefore visited the Loewenstein rehabilitation center, the largest in Israel, and observed the very high professional level of physicians there. We also studied one of the biggest oncology and cardiology clinics in Tel Aviv. Let's adopt their best practices for implementation in Lviv,” said Sadovyi, responding to a question from the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter about the purpose of his visit.

"I have traveled frequently around the world and have seen many things, but it seems to me that Israel is the country of the future. This is because you have placed such a great emphasis on education, and this is quite rare. You pay attention to security issues and patriotism, and people know the history of their country and are ready to fight for it to the last drop of their blood. I consider that Israel can be a very good example for Ukraine, and a nation from which it is possible to adopt many positive and successful decisions which already work," noted Sadovyi.

The Lviv mayor provided an example. Today the mortality rate in Israel from heart attacks is only two to three percent, and in Ukraine this indicator is several times higher. "We are already preparing for the City Council session on January 26th a program to decrease mortality from heart attacks. We have to buy certain equipment, rigidly follow protocols of treatment, and enact some other measures. Lviv will show how it can be done," the mayor declared.

Andrii Sadovyi speaks to Israeli journalists, May 2015.

Sadovyi designated four more spheres of interest that can benefit from the Israeli experience: the development in Lviv of a powerful rehabilitation center for the treatment of Ukrainian military and civilians who have suffered trauma; a "Safe City" program; stimulating the growth of hi-tech companies; and the development of children's education through the Israeli "Academy of Leadership" technique. The technique teaches excellence and happiness, which is connected to optimism and love of country.

Sadovyi also noted that Ukrainians today understand Israel much better. Unfortunately, this happened because of the war that broke out in Ukraine three years ago.

"With every visit I discover Israel for myself more and more. I have many friends around the world, but it is difficult to find in the world today such a level of openness and such a desire to help that I have from Israelis. You, as nobody else, understand the pain we experience today. We have had this pain for several years, and you have learned not only to live with it, but also to win and move forward. Therefore only a mutually beneficial cooperation between Ukraine and Israel can be that bridge over which it is necessary to cross. I would like to convey my respect and honor to Israel, and let's move forward to our joint victories!" Sadovyi emphasized.

Text and photos: Shimon Briman (Israel)
Edited by Peter Bejger