226 new immigrants from Ukraine, many of them refugees who fled the battle zone in the east of the country, landed Monday afternoon in Israel where they were greeted with a joyous ceremony.
This flight is the first of many bringing thousands of Jews from countries in distress to Israel in the coming years. The initiative was sponsored by the Immigrants in Friendship program of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), in collaboration with the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency and the global organization Ezra.
Since many of the immigrants are refugees from Ukraine's war with Russia and many others were severely damaged by the economic situation since the revolution, the IFCJ is providing them with extra financial assistance.
This support comes as an addition to the absorption basket and benefits all immigrants to Israel are entitled to.
The demand to join the fellowship program and move to Israel has grown much larger than expected among Ukrainian Jews. Therefore the IFCJ has scheduled another flight for the end of December.
That flight was announced by IFCJ President Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, who declared his intentions to help increase the number of immigrants arriving in Israel.
Ministry of Absorption Sofa Landver greeted the new immigrants at Ben Gurion International Airport, noting that "this year we have witnessed a significant increase in immigration from all countries of the world, and Ukraine in particular."
"We will continue to work day and night to allow every Jew to take the plunge and come home."
Rabbi Eckstein, who was also part of the welcoming party, said, “the Fellowship will continue to ensure that any Jew who is in danger or who faces hardship will receive shelter and a home."
“The first Fellowship flight will open a new chapter in the contribution of the IFCJ to immigration and absorption in Israel. We thank our partners in the effort to help immigrants absorb quickly into Israel."
Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky was also present.
He stated "since the beginning of the year, the Jewish Agency has brought 5,000 immigrants from all over Ukraine, three times the number of immigrants in the previous year. We will continue to help any Jew who needs our help."
Danny Elinson, the Executive Director of Ezra World, concluded the ceremony.
"We're working hard, working closely with the refugees in the process of their immigration to Israel. And we are happy to be a part of this flight in cooperation with IFCJ, the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency, and Nativ."