Chervonenko's bristling criticism of his Cabinet colleagues, and in particular Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, came after a brutal attack on a young Jewish student that has alarmed Ukraine's 100,000-strong Jewish community. The student remains hospitalized in a coma.
Such "an unprecedented attack ... has never (before) occurred in independent Ukraine," said Chervonenko.
President Viktor Yushchenko condemned the attack and ordered top officials to take charge of the case. Chervonenko said he welcomed Yushchenko's quick response, but was alarmed by other ministers' silence.
"As a member of the government, I was very surprised that a similar response didn't come from the government and Ukraine's prime minister," Chervonenko said in a statement published on the Ministry of Transport's Web site.
Tymoshenko's spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.
Jewish leaders blamed the attack on religious bias, and said it sparked fears of growing anti-Semitism in this ex-Soviet republic, which they see in increasingly frequent swastikas and other anti-Jewish graffiti scrawled on buildings. They urged the government to act, saying officials must take a harder line against those who inflame hatred against Jews.
"All our efforts break up against some wall," Vadim Rabinovych, head of the All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress, said Thursday.
Acts of vandalism at Jewish sites occur often in Ukraine, though violent acts have become rare. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed over the centuries in pogroms staged by Ukrainian nationalists, and millions died during the Holocaust.
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