December 22, 2014
For months, Fellowship staff has been tirelessly arranging every detail of the complex operation to bring hundreds of Ukrainian Jewish refugees home, and today, that operation was carried out with great success.
For 30 years, since the time my father, Rabbi Eckstein, established The Fellowship, we have been bringing Jews home On Wings of Eagles. It has been unbelievably inspiring for me to see the generosity, excitement, and genuine love that Christians around the world have shown toward the Jewish community in the former Soviet Union, along with the unprecedented desire to help them finally – for the first time in modern history – return to their biblical homeland of Israel.
For 30 years, my father has made the decision to work through the already established aliyah (immigration to Israel) channels to bring the Jews home, but this past summer, that changed.
“I was in the middle of Ukraine, surrounded by war and fighting, and God made it clear to me that The Fellowship had to do more to help. We couldn’t just continue to fund aliyah from Ukraine through the regular channels; rather, in face of the violence and Jewish refugee situation, we had to make extra efforts to bring more Jews home to Israel before it’s too late.”
My father returned to Israel from Ukraine, and immediately instructed Fellowship staff to put together an effective, cost-efficient emergency operation to bring the Jewish refugees home to Israel on chartered On Wings of Eagles flights before the end of the year.
The truth is, today’s flight cost more than the regular aliyah flights, and I was unsure of how our Fellowship friends would be able to respond.
Due to the fact that many of the Jews coming home on this aliyah flight were refugees – families who lost all of their belongings, including their homes, cars, clothing, and bank accounts during the fighting in eastern Ukraine – we could not just drop them off in Israel empty-handed to begin their lives anew. The immigrants needed help to get their new lives started, and the entire operation from beginning to end, including transporting them to the airport in Kiev, paying for meals, bringing them to Israel, and setting them up in the Holy Land – cost $1,500 per person. That is a hefty price tag.
Yet once again, as always, our generous and holy donors responded favorably. And because of them, The Fellowship brought more than 200 Ukrainian immigrants to Israel today, with more than 200 more scheduled to arrive in the Holy Land by the end of the year.
From America, watching video of my father step off the chartered flight in Israel with a baby in his arms and a tearful mother by his side summed it all up for me: the future of Israel and the Jewish people around the world is in our hands.
We are at the point in history where we must make difficult decisions and put those decisions into action: Are we going to close our eyes to the Jewish suffering and persecution around the world, or are we going to open up our arms and help the Jewish people come home to Israel, in the vision of the prophets?
Two thousand years ago, when Isaiah said that one day the Jews will come home “from the four corners of the earth….on the shoulders of the gentiles,” he had a vision of our very own generation. During these uncertain times, we must look at the Bible for guidance. And what I see the Bible telling us is that we should bring home the Jewish people to Israel before it’s too late.
As my father continuously points out, the prophetic and historic Ukraine chartered flight that arrived in Israel today is just the beginning of a new chapter in Fellowship-sponsored aliyah.
I pray that God will open up a blessed way to bring many more Jewish immigrants home to Israel soon On Wings of Eagles, where they can start their lives anew and lay the groundwork for many generations of Jewish children to be raised in the land of their forefathers.
With blessings for shalom,