As we have happily told you, this week another Fellowship Freedom Flight brought 110 Ukrainian Jews to their historic homeland in Israel. Now we will support these new olim (immigrants) as they settle into new lives in the Holy Land. Writing at The Jerusalem Post, Dmitry Apartsev – himself an immigrant to Israel from the former Soviet Union – writes that Israel’s newest citizens are part of the Jewish state’s future:
One-third of Katzrin’s proud residents are olim from the Former Soviet Union – veteran olim and new olim, just like me. It is impossible to imagine the Katzrin Local Council, which I head, and Katzrin’s 7,000 residents without its immigrant population. The olim of Katzrin are the central power in the city’s development, a significant component of its strength and an important key to its future. And what is right for Katzrin is, of course, right for the State of Israel as a whole.
I made aliya from Lithuania as a young boy, part of the large wave of immigration to Israel in the early 1990s. Believe me – being a “new oleh” is not an experience that you easily forget. Immigrating to a new country is one of the biggest decisions a person can make. Someone who has not experienced first-hand the sensations of separation and strangeness will never understand what it’s like to move to a new country, a new language.
These challenges, without a doubt, formed who I am today and helped shape the public official I became, one who has served in senior positions in immigration and absorption policy in Israel …
Tonight, I will pick up the phone and call a family of new immigrants that arrived in Israel this morning on the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews’ (known here as the “Keren LeYedidut”) third “Fellowship Flight” from Ukraine.
They join four other families who recently came to northern Israel on a prior aliya flight organized by IFCJ’s head, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.
I will tell them a bit about myself, my background, and the wonderful place they have come to live in. With a full heart, I will tell them that the people in charge of aliya and absorption in our local council are incredibly skilled and experienced professionals. I will promise them that tomorrow when they open their eyes and see how beautiful it is here, they will feel even better about their brave decision to move to Israel.