Chairman Natan Sharansky of the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI, Hasochnut Hayehudit) said, Sunday, that the agency, representing Jewish communities from around the world, has helped more than a million Jews from the former Soviet Union (FSU) emigrate to Israel since the fall of the Iron Curtain. Speaking at the opening day of the Sochnut's Board of Governors' meeting in Kiev, he said that JAFI raised more than a billion dollars for the effort. Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver noted the agency's cooperation with government, adding that immigrants have strengthened Israel with their various professions, including medicine and science.
Sunday marked the first time the Board of Governors' meeting has been held in the FSU and not in Israel, as a matter of solidarity with the local Jewish community against a backdrop of anti-Semitism. Ukrainian Chief Rabbi Ya'a'kov Bleich called it one of the most important gatherings in the 25-year history of the renewed community. During the days of the meeting, attendees will meet with senior Ukrainian and local Jewish leaders, and review the agency's efforts in the Ukraine. There will also be an observance in at the site of the Babi Yar massacre in memory of the Jews murdered during the Holocaust.