Assisting one of the evacuees in disembarking from the plane
Assisting one of the evacuees in disembarking from the planeUnited Hatzalah

Early Thursday morning a plane landed at Ben Gurion International Airport, bringing with it three bedridden elderly Ukrainian refugees who were evacuated from the war-torn country in order to receive proper medical care in Israel.

The rescue mission was a combined operation between the Jewish Agency, the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), and United Hatzalah.

The elderly people, all of whom were eligible to enter Israel under the Law of Return, were originally extricated from their apartments inside Ukraine by a special project, “Hessed,” run by the JDC, which assists elderly people inside Ukraine who require medical evacuation. After receiving a proper medical assessment in Ukraine to certify that they were healthy enough to make the journey, the evacuees were transported by an ambulance team that was specially arranged for the journey. The evacuees were also assessed in order to make sure they received the proper medical care and social services that they would require once they landed in Israel.

Once the evacuees arrived in Poland, they were received by members of the Jewish Agency at a medical center that has been established in Warsaw. There, they received medical care and were assisted in preparing all the necessary documentation for their journey and immigration to Israel. The Jewish Agency has established emergency centers in the countries bordering Ukraine where Jewish refugees are received and can receive assistance prior to their flights to Israel. The three elderly evacuees joined one of the rescue flights arranged by the Jewish Agency. Their flight flew from Poland to Israel late Wednesday night and carried with it dozens of Jewish refugees from the conflict zones inside Ukraine.

A medical team from United Hatzalah, including a paramedic and three EMTs, flew especially from Israel to Poland to join the flight and provide in-flight medical care to the three elderly evacuees, who are all living with chronic medical conditions that require constant care.

This type of inter-organizational partnership allowed for continuous medical care and coverage for the refugees who wish to leave Ukraine and immigrate to Israel without risking their lives while doing so due to their complicated medical conditions.

Executive Director of the Former Soviet Union operation for the JDC Stefan Oscar said, “We have seen how challenging the rescue and evacuation of people from the conflict regions can be, especially for the elderly who are more vulnerable, due to their often complicated medical conditions. Our cross-organizational partnership has allowed us to provide continuous medical care for these people, and in doing so, has saved the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of the Jewish community in Ukraine.”

Head of the Jewish Agency Operation for Ukraine Gal Ben Shimol added, “We wish to thank all of the organizations who participated in this mission to rescue these elderly evacuees from the Ukrainian conflict zone and succeeded in bringing them to safety in Israel. The Jewish Agency is working together with all relevant organizations and putting forth every effort in order to save the Jews of Ukraine from the conflict and bring to Israel all those who wish to come.”

Vice President of Operations for United Hatzalah Dov Maisel said, “Together with a number of organizations, under the leadership of the Jewish Agency, three elderly people were evacuated from Ukraine and brought by ambulance to Poland. Our team of volunteers flew to Poland in order to provide medical coverage and care for them while accompanying them on their flight to Israel. Our team was tasked with stabilizing the medical condition during the flight, and our ambulance teams met the plane on the ground and transported them to the proper medical facilities in Israel where they will now receive continuing care.”