Yael Eckstein, President and CEO of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, receives Jerusalem Post’s 2023 Humanitarian Award
May 4, 2023
JERUSALEM — During the Jerusalem Post’s Celebrate the Faces of Israel conference on April 27, Yael Eckstein, President and CEO of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship), was awarded the publication’s 2023 Humanitarian Award for her and the organization’s emergency aid response for the ongoing war in Ukraine.
“I feel blessed to lead The Fellowship, and this award is truly thanks to the quick, generous and passionate response of our donors to help care for the Jewish community in Ukraine,” Eckstein said.
The Fellowship was one of the first organizations on the ground with emergency aid as war erupted, having worked on the ground in Ukraine and the former Soviet Union for more than three decades of the organization’s 40 years in operation.
“I remember visiting Kyiv and meeting with our partners in the field to make an emergency plan in case the situation escalated,” said Eckstein, recalling her trip to Ukraine a few weeks prior to the Russian invasion, when few believed war in Kyiv was imminent.
On the flight back to Israel, Eckstein approved $1 million in emergency funding and readily took action, sending advance reserves of food, medicine, and supplies to partners throughout Ukraine—supplies that proved to be life-saving for those trapped in the country and in harm’s way during the first days after the war began. Over the course of the first couple months of the war, The Fellowship airlifted 95 tons of humanitarian aid to stranded Ukrainians and refugees.
“I worried for the people of Ukraine, people who we deeply care for and who have depended on us for the last 30 years. I worried they might be facing a very dangerous situation, and I prepared the team to do what was necessary to be able to act quickly and efficiently to save Jewish lives.”
As millions fled the war, The Fellowship continued to assist with evacuations and set up emergency shelters for refugees, providing food, medicine, and beds. In 2022, the organization provided $28 million in aid to the war-torn country, and brought 4,600 Ukrainian refugees home to Israel through aliyah, evacuated 1,600 children and staff from Ukrainian children’s homes and orphanages, and funded emergency medical rescue flights for 50 elderly too weak to flee without medical supervision.
Now, in its second year of war, there are different needs for the thousands still left in Ukraine.
“There are still people without basic infrastructure who are relying on us for life-saving basic needs,” Eckstein said. “We continue to pray for peace, while being prepared for any scenario.”
To learn more about Yael Eckstein and the Jerusalem Post’s 2023 Humanitarian award, click here.