Ukraine Reminds Us Israel Is Essential

Yael Eckstein  |  May 4, 2022

Yael Eckstein, in Jerusalem, woman with flag of Israel
(Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv)

Seventy-four years ago, with the founding of the modern state of Israel, the Jewish people at last found freedom and safety in the Holy Land, their historic and biblical homeland. But even as we celebrate Israel Independence Day, Yael writes at Townhall that the ongoing war in Ukraine shows how essential a Jewish state still is:

Alla Oleshko, an 86-year-old Jewish woman living in Kharkiv, Ukraine, remembers when the bombs began to fall. The Russians were aiming for the TV tower right in front of her house.

“The first time, only the windows of the house blew out. The second time, the front door was demolished by a blast,” Oleshko told us. She lost both of her legs a few years ago, making it difficult to escape to a shelter.

This is not the first time, however, that Oleshko has found herself in the middle of a war. She lived through the terrible siege of Leningrad during World War II and recalls how the Nazis bombed the city. Her father died shortly after fighting on the frontlines, and her little brother got hypothermia during their evacuation and died.

“I survived the Holocaust when I was a child, and here again the war came to my door,” Oleshko says.

Sadly, her story is not unique. The team from my organization, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, which is currently on the ground in Ukraine, has heard many similar heartbreaking stories from Jews in the country. These stories remind us that many are suffering all over again and are looking for a place of refuge – and are finding it in Israel.

Read more of Yael’s message at Townhall.

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