Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy was born to Jewish parents on 25 January 1978 in Kryvyi Rih, then in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
His father, Oleksandr Zelenskyy, is a professor and the head of the Department of Cybernetics and Computing Hardware at the Kryvyi Rih State University of Economics and Technology; his mother, Rymma Zelenska, used to work as an engineer.
His grandfather, Semyon (Simon) Ivanovych Zelenskyy, served in the Red Army (in the 57th Guards Motor Rifle Division) during World War II; Semyon’s father and three brothers were murdered in the Holocaust. Prior to starting elementary school, Zelenskyy lived for four years in the Mongolian city of Erdenet, where his father worked. At the age of 16, he passed the Test of English as a Foreign Language and received an education grant to study in Israel, but his father did not allow him to go.
He later earned a law degree from the Kryvyi Rih Institute of Economics, then a department of Kyiv National Economic University and now part of Kryvyi Rih National University, but did not go on to work in the legal field.
JERUSALEM — Around 2,500 Ukrainian Jews have asked to immigrate to Israel and take citizenship since the onset of Russia’s invasion, a quasi-governmental organization says.
The Jewish Agency for Israel, which handles immigration matters, said that it has received over 5,000 inquiries about immigration to Israel. Around half have requested to immigrate immediately, the agency said.
Ukraine is home to a Jewish community of around 43,000. But approximately 200,000 Ukrainians are eligible for immigration under Israel’s Law of Return, which extends the right to citizenship to anyone with one Jewish grandparent.