War in Donbass Continues to Drive Ukrainians to Israel
The Fellowship | March 29, 2017
Ukraine continues to be a chaotic and dangerous warzone, and many continue to flee. Writers at The Jerusalem Post report on the excitement and relief felt by new immigrants on our most recent Fellowship Freedom Flight, which brought 78 families home to Israel!
According to Jewish Agency and Aliyah and Absorption Ministry statistics, some 19,000 Ukrainians have made aliya since 2014, the year the conflict broke out. The peak was in 2015, with 7,400 Ukrainians moving to Israel. From 2013 to 2014, the number of Ukrainian olim almost tripled, jumping from some 2,020 to 5,900, and the Jewish Agency observed an upsurge in queries and applications for aliya since the beginning of the crisis.
In December 2014, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews launched its Freedom Flight program, chartering aliya flights independently from the Jewish Agency. It was with the IFCJ that Tuesday’s olim arrived, with bright hopes for their new lives in Israel.
“Israel is my home,” Lavrinenko Alexander told The Jerusalem Post, during a welcome ceremony at Ben-Gurion Airport attended by Immigration and Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, who is herself an olah from the Former Soviet Union.
Though it was the first time Alexander had set foot in the country, he was joining his siblings who had already made the move. Alexander hails from the city of Zaporozhye, located next to Donbass. He has felt the conflict most keenly via its economic impact. “There is no future for my children [there],” he said. Alexander, 27, is joined in Israel by his 24-year-old wife and two-year-old son. Having heard about the experiences of his family in Ramle, he is positive that Israel will provide a better life for his family.
This seems to be the general consensus among the olim.