230 new Ukranian immigrants land in Israel

Half of the 78 immigrant Ukraine families settle in Israel's center, north, four immigrants are Holocaust survivors.

Yedidya Ben-Or ,

New Immigrants
New Immigrants
Yoni Kempinski

230 Ukranian immigrants landed in Israel's Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday, after arriving via a flight arranged by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and headed by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.

The immigrants received a warm greeting from Immigration and Absorption Minister Sofa Landver (Yisrael Beytenu).

Of the 78 families, most will settle in the north and center of Israel. Four of the immigrants are Holocaust survivors, and over 40 more are children.

Some of these immigrants come from war-torn areas of the Ukraine, and had lived as refugees for several years.

Alexei and Irena L. arrived in Israel with their daughter from Dnepropetrovsk.

"Life in the Ukraine became no life, constantly," they said, "especially for a family with children. After such extensive fighting, the economic situation is also awful. It was clear to us that if we want a future for our children, we need to build it in Israel."

Holocaust survivor Yitzhak B. said, "The Second World War started when I was twelve. The Jews needed to gather to sign up. My family heard a German soldier call, 'Death to the Jews!' and understood immediately what the signup was about.

"In one second, we made a decision. My family picked up and left, and asked Polish neighbors to hide us. They agreed and we hid there for the entire war. Now that I'm coming to Israel, I feel a real sense of purpose and commitment to the land. I am very happy and excited to meet all of my family members who live in Israel"

When the immigrants got off the plane, Landver immediately began the procedures to register them as citizens via the Law of Return which grants immediate Israeli citizenship to Jews.

"I'm so happy the wave of immigration continued, because together, we'll know how to give new immigrants who just arrived the best treatment and reception, in every area of their lives," Landver said."

Rabbi Eckstein said, "These new immigrants who are joining us, are coming with complex baggage from living in a war zone and suffering from difficult economic times. The fact that these people have the ability to come here and start a new life, in a strong and independent country, is a great salvation for them."

"This holiday of freedom which we will soon celebrate is the real expression of freedom that you will learn, as you walk in Israel for the first time. I call on all of the State of Israel to remember these people. Invite them to your homes for the Seder night - and tell them that you are with them, that you feel for them, when you speak about freedom.