JERUSALEM — One year after the sudden passing of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is hosting a Freedom Flight in memory of their late founder. The Fellowship will be chartering three planes arriving from Ukraine with 186 Ukrainian immigrants to Israel (olim) on February 24. Fellowship President and CEO Yael Eckstein and Fellowship staff will greet passengers upon their landing in Israel at approximately 6 a.m. local time.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein founded The Fellowship in 1983 to promote better understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews and to build broad support for the nation of Israel. The organization has played a pivotal role in forging the alliance between the world’s vast evangelical Christian community and the Jewish people. Yael Eckstein continues that work through her leadership of The Fellowship, which helps immigrants find safety in Israel, provides lifesaving necessities to Holocaust survivors, secures synagogues, builds bomb shelters throughout Israel, provides emergency assistance to victims of terror and war, and funds many other critical ministries in Israel and around the world.
“I can just picture my Abba with tears of joy in his eyes with every Fellowship flight that brings God’s people home to Israel,” said Mrs. Eckstein. “This is our legacy—not just my father’s—that we are ensuring for generations to come. We have watched countless miracles unfold as we began this journey hand-in-hand with Jewish and Christian communities around the globe. And this journey is far from over. There is so much more work to be done and so much hope to restore for the future of Israel.”
Multiple times every month The Fellowship facilitates the arrival of olim to Israel, including last week, when Benjamin Amsellem arrived from Marseille, France. There, in 2016, he fended off a young ISIS fanatic’s machete attack with the leather-bound Torah he happened to be holding in his hand. Almost one year ago the famous artist Valerii Medvediev was among approximately two hundred Ukrainian Jews whom The Fellowship airlifted to Israel. Medvediev’s name made headlines around the world just a couple of months ago when his widely heralded statue in Kiev of the renowned Jewish writer Sholom Aleichem was defaced with a swastika.
“Anti-Semitism was one of my main motivations for making aliyah to Israel”, said Medvediev at the time, reflecting on the wisdom of his decision to leave his lifelong home in Ukraine for his spiritual and ancestral home, Israel. “This isn’t the first time that the sculpture has been vandalized. This isn’t just a slap in my face as a Jew, but to the entire Jewish people,” he said.
Since its founding, The Fellowship has helped more than 750,000 Jews make aliyah. This past year alone, Mrs. Eckstein and her dedicated staff have been responsible for bringing over 5,000 olim on aliyah. To find out more information about this unique and critical effort that blesses Jewish immigrants around the world, visit https://www.ifcj.org/who-we-are/programs/on-wings-of-eagles/.