Mykhailo and his wife, Natalia, still remember when they realized how bad the hostilities in their hometown of Lugansk, Ukraine, had gotten. “All the parents of the kindergarten class made nametags for their children and put them into their pockets,” Natalia explains. “This was in order to identify them in the event of a catastrophe.”
When the war first began, Mykhailo and Natalia took their son, 6-year-old Roman, to a safer region. When they returned, a lot had changed. They saw damaged buildings and traces of shelling.
The family tried to continue living a normal life in the city. But they lived in constant fear and financial strain as unrest in the region continued. Mykhailo was out of work for some time and Natalia was paid only a very small salary. These new living conditions took a toll on the family.
“We were exhausted and living in constant fear,” says Natalia. “Therefore, we made the decision to move to Israel. We want our child to grow up in a peaceful country and feel safe and happy. Moreover, it's my husband's dream that our son will serve in the Israeli army.”
The family recently made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) on a Fellowship Freedom Flight and they are both relieved and excited about a fresh start.
Mykhailo feels confident that his family belongs in Israel. “Israel is where we'll spend the rest of our lives,” says Mykhailo. “We wouldn't even think about going back to Ukraine. I love my homeland. I was born in Ukraine, but it is no longer safe. Now my heart's already in Israel. The majority of our relatives already live in Israel. Our return to our homeland will also be a reunion with the rest of the family in the Holy Land.”
“Thank you for giving us this opportunity to start a new life!” says Natalia.