250 new immigrants from Ukraine will spend their first Israel Independence Day in the Holy Land

May 3, 2022

JERUSALEM Marina and Ruslan lost their son during the war in Mariupol, Ukraine. Now, they are making aliyah (immigrating to Israel), joining their daughter and grandson who made aliyah one month ago. “The only thing that keeps me alive is knowing that I will see them soon,” Marina says.

In the early days of the war they slept in the bathtub because it was in the safest room in the house. Afterwards, when a missile hit near their building, they escaped to a basement apartment in the building next door. After the water supply was cut off, Vladimir, their son, went out to bring water but he never returned. “As more days pass and I do not hear from him, I’m afraid the worst has happened.”

Marina and Ruslan will be on flights funded by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) on May 2 and 3. They will celebrate Israel Independence Day, which occurs on May 5, in Israel for the first time. With their arrival, the number of olim (immigrants) arriving in Israel with the help of The Fellowship since last year’s Israel Independence Day is nearly 10,000. The largest number of these came from Ukraine.

Marina is eagerly anticipating their arrival. “We understood that we cannot live this way,” she says. “The bombs were never-ending; we thought we would all die. We lost everything. I am going to gather my strength so I can get to Israel and start a new life.”

Yael Eckstein, president and CEO of The Fellowship, said, “We have been supporting aliyah for many years, and we’re proud that we’re still at the forefront of this effort. It is especially important now with the terrible situation in Ukraine. We’ve been focusing on bringing as many Jews to safety in Israel as possible. I’m so grateful that they will be able to celebrate the birth of Israel in the Holy Land.”

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