New immigrants, Ukraine
New immigrants, UkraineOlivier Fitoussi

About 100 new immigrants from Ukraine arrived in Lod's Ben Gurion Airport on Thursday, on a flight sponsored by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ).

On the present flight there are 46 families, and out of this number there are 34 children and 5 infants. The total number of olim (immigrants) on the flight stands at 102, with most planning to settle in the coastal cities of Bat Yam and Petah Tikva.

In the last year the IFCJ has brought more than 700 new olim from Ukraine on Aliyah including five flights organized by the group.

Most of the immigrants are refugees from the embattled regions. In light of their economic situation, the IFCJ is helping them with special grants of $1,000 for each oleh and $500 for each child, in addition to paying for the flight to Israel. This financial support of the IFCJ comes as an addition to the “Aliyah basket” (Sal Klitah) and benefits that olim are eligible to receive from the Ministry of Absorption.

Vladimir Sornin, one of the olim whose home was damaged during the fighting in the tumultuous Donetsk region, explains that “the atmosphere is still very tense. We hear shooting and explosions every so often in the background.”

Vladimir (31), who made Aliyah with his wife, Ekaterina (29), and their two children, fled with his family from Lugansk in the beginning of the outbreak of war. During the fighting shells struck the yard of the family’s home twice and caused a great deal of damage. During the battles and recently the family lived in a refugee camp in Dnipropetrovsk.

According to him, many people believe that the battles will start again in the near future. Beside the huge amount of damage that the fighting has caused, Sornin, who has legal training, also describes the depressing economic result of the war. “The factory where I worked is no longer operating. A large number of the businesses are not paying salaries and others pay only in part or with products.”

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, President of the IFCJ, notes that “in the last half-year, the IFCJ has been investing tremendous efforts in bringing the Jews of Ukraine on Aliyah to Israel. It is a strategic process in which we see great importance, from the perspective of protecting the Jewish population in the world who are in distress, and from the perspective of strengthening Israeli society."

"The olim arriving in Israel are young and educated and will contribute a great deal to advance the society and the Israeli economy as previous waves of Aliyah from the FSU have proven," he added.