He calls his troops “the Blue Helmets of Maidan,” but brown is the colour of the headgear worn by Delta the nom de guerre of the commander of a Jewish-led militia force that participated in the Ukrainian revolution.
Delta, a Ukraine-born former soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, spoke to Israeli journalists last Thursday on condition of anonymity.
Several Ukrainian Jews, including Rabbi Moshe Azman, one of the country’s claimants to the title of chief rabbi, confirmed Delta’s identity and role in the still-unfinished revolution.
The Blue Helmets comprise 35 men and women who are not Jewish, and who are led by five ex-IDF soldiers, says Delta, an Orthodox Jew in his late 30s who regularly prays at Azman’s Brodsky Synagogue.
Delta, who immigrated to Israel in the 1990s, moved back to Ukraine several years ago and has worked as a businessman.
“I saw unarmed civilians with no military background being ground by a well-oiled military machine, and it made my blood boil,” Delta told JTA in Hebrew laced with military jargon.
The other ex-IDF infantrymen joined the Blue Helmets later after hearing it was led by a fellow vet, Delta said.
As platoon leader, Delta says he takes orders from activists connected to Svoboda, an ultra-nationalist party that has been frequently accused of anti-Semitism and whose members have been said to have had key positions in organizing the opposition protests.
But Delta says the Kremlin is using the anti-Semitism card falsely to delegitimize the Ukrainian revolution, which is distancing Ukraine from Russia’s sphere of influence.
But Delta has another, more ambitious, project: He and Azman are organizing the airborne evacuation of seriously wounded protesters none of them Jewish for critical operations in Israel.
Categories: Ukraine Crisis