Today, The Fellowship’s latest Freedom Flight landed in Israel, carrying 110 Ukrainian Jews away from their war-torn country and to a new home in the Holy Land. The Jerusalem Post reports on what The Fellowship is doing to help these refugees make aliyah (immigrate to Israel):
“Welcome to Israel, even if we still are in Ukraine,” Ofer Dahan quipped in rapid Hebrew. As his words were translated, the largely somber crowd of Ukrainian refugees chuckled, their grim faces breaking out into smiles.
Dahan, who heads the aliya department of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, then began to remind his listeners how the process of immigration to the Jewish state would unfold and added that they, as people who had fled from the civil war in eastern Ukraine, would be well taken care of in Israel.
IFCJ, which raises money from a predominantly Christian donor base and has been involved in supporting Ukrainian Jewish institutions for years, had made arrangements with over 200 municipalities across Israel to ease the newcomers’ transition, Dahan explained.
“Everyone who comes to a city, a representative of the local authority will be in touch with you personally,” he told the émigrés.
As their luggage was being loaded into large tractor trailers outside of the hotel in which they were meeting, IFCJ staffers began handing out tickets for Tuesday morning’s flight, the second such aliya charter plane organized by the group.
“We are pleased to be able to bring an additional 110 people on an IFCJ flight to Israel and to help them in the aliya process so they can finally, after a year of living as refugees, make Israel their new home,” the IFCJ explained. “In light of the increased demands from Jews in Ukraine and elsewhere around the world to come with the IFCJ on aliya, we are increasing our number of flights from Ukraine to bring more Jews to safety in their new home, Israel.”
Nearly 6,000 Jews immigrated to Israel from Ukraine last year, fleeing a Russian-backed insurgency in the country’s east and rampant inflation, according to the Immigration and Absorption Ministry.
“Every generation has its own Exodus miracle. For many years the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews was instrumental in bringing almost one million olim from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia to Israel,” IFCJ founder Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
“Now, we are undertaking that same calling to provide Ukraine’s Jewish refugees with a safe haven in their homeland. We promise to stand by Israel’s latest olim throughout their aliya and absorption process here in Israel.”