Daily Israel Report

MK: Plans for Mass Aliyah from Ukraine Underway

Arutz Sheva speaks with MK Rina Frenkel on the status of Ukrainian Jewry and her push to bring them to Israel en masse.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 3/3/2014, 10:09 PM

Swastika (illustrative)
Swastika (illustrative)
Flash 90

Arutz Sheva spoke to MK Rina Frenkel (Yesh Atid) Monday about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and the devastating effect the unrest has had on the Jewish community.

Frenkel made Aliyah from the embattled country in 1990 and has been advocating on the Ukrainian Jewish community's behalf for the Israeli government to intervene in the crisis. 

"We are aware of a terrible situation unfolding there," Frenkel noted. She receives updates on the crisis from a friend of her son's; the contact has described attacks and accusations being leveled at Jews on a regular basis. Among other things, Frankel has been notified that a grenade has been lobbed into a synagogue, a hareidi man assaulted on his way home from synagogue on Shabbat, and anti-Semitic graffiti has cropped up in several places.

"[Ukrainian] Jews are afraid," Frenkel summarized. "The situation does not allow them to move freely." 

Frenkel has turned to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu more than once over the past several weeks, pleading for the Israeli government to bring the community in on a mass Aliyah mission.

On Monday, the MK noted that the beginning of such a plan is being formed, and that the planning process is to include the inter-Ministerial Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Absorption to allow shorten the bureaucratic process for Ukrainian Aliyah. 

"We neet to extend a hand and speed the process for anyone who wants to make Aliyah from Ukraine," Frenkel stated. The MK stressed that she does not intend to persuade the community to make Aliyah, per se, but rather to merely ease the process for those who already wish to do so. 

Recent reports indicated that extremists have been targeting the Jewish community in Ukraine, and that the extremists include a member of the opposition. A synagogue was firebombed last week by unknown assailants in the embattled country; at least one synagogue in Crimea has also been defaced. 

The Rabbi of the city of Kharkov, Rabbi Moshe Moskowitz, told Arutz Sheva last week that a number of local Jews have already expressed a desire to leave Ukraine and emigrate to Israel. The unrest of the recent month is what has brought this desire to the fore, he said. 

Anti-Semitism in Ukraine has picked up throughout the unrest, which began in late November. In January, unknown assailants stabbed a hareidi man in Kiev as he was making his way home from synagogue on a Friday night. Several weeks ago, anti-Semitic graffiti was sprayed on a Holocaust memorial in the city of Alexandria.