Just a few days before Israeli Independence Day, 220 Jews from Ukraine became new citizens of Israel on Monday, arriving on three separate flights organized by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (Keren L’Yedidut). 42 of the olim will be moving to localities in the Gaza Envelope including Ashdod, Ashkelon, Sderot, Gan Yavne and Beersheba, immediately after their arrival.
"We at The Fellowship are proud of every new immigrant who chooses to come to Israel and who is not deterred by the current reality on the ground," said President of The Fellowship, Yael Eckstein. "More than anything else, I am inspired by the immigrants who choose to continue to settle in Israel’s southern region and Gaza Envelope."
Moving to Ashdod are the members of the Fedorchuk family from Kharkiv, Ukraine. Forty-year-old Stanislav said that he and his wife Alina (33) had been preparing to make the move to Israel for quite some time and that they chose Ashdod in order to live close to their relatives. "Our relatives live in Ashdod and have told us about the difficult situation. We hope that by the time we get to Israel, the IDF will have taken control of the situation," Stanislav said. Joining Stanislav and Alina are their three children, aged 8 and 6, and a baby less than a year old.
The Sidorenko-Makovetsky family from Nikopol are moving adjacent to Ashdod in Gan Yavne. “The situation in the south of the country is very stressful. We have two small children, and although we are very afraid that they could be harmed both emotionally and physically, we believe in the Israel Defense Forces and the Iron Dome system to protect us.”
All the new olim received a pre-arrival training seminar, which included detailed training and close supervision in order to provide them with the best tools in dealing with the threat of rocket attacks on Israel. "This has been a challenging time of late for Jews everywhere, as increasing anti-Semitism is evident in many countries and reminds us of dark times when defenseless Jews fell prey to persecution and destruction,” said President Eckstein. “However, to our great joy, today we have a state and a Jewish people responsible for its own fate. Moreover, thanks to our true friends, Christian lovers of Israel, we also have moral and practical support. We hope for more peaceful and tranquil times, and wish the new olim with the best of luck."
Among the 220 new olim from Ukraine, 50 are children up to the age of 18. The oldest is 84 years of age. They will not be the only new olim arriving this week to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day as Israeli citizens for the first time. A total of 17 different flights sponsored by The Fellowship will bring another 37 new olim from other countries including Uruguay, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brazil, Venezuela and France.
For more than 20 years, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has been helping Jews to make aliyah and has invested more than $200 million in bringing approximately 750,000 olim to Israel. The Fellowship has also been a major contributor to the Jewish Agency and helped to establish the Nefesh B'Nefesh organization. In 2014, The Fellowship began operating independently in the field of immigration. Since then, The Fellowship has brought 18,000 olim to Israel from 29 countries around the world. The olim receive comprehensive assistance from The Fellowship including special grants of $500 per adult and $300 per child. The Fellowship also sponsors their flights to Israel and ensures that they receive the absorption basket that they are entitled to under Israeli law. Additionally, The Fellowship works to make sure that the immigrant families are absorbed within their respective municipalities, particularly with regards to housing and employment. Moreover, The Fellowship continues to advise the families even after their absorption process.