Bennett meets Ukrainian youths
Bennett meets Ukrainian youths Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met Tuesday with Ukrainian Jewish students who are in Israel as part of the Masa organization as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues.

During the meeting, Bennett heard from program participants about the personal stories of their families in Ukraine, as well as the difficulties and concerns they have suffered in recent days.

"I am glad you came. The purpose of the meeting for me is to hear from you, to know what is happening to you and your families in Ukraine. First and foremost, I want to tell you that you have a home here. Israel is your home, the home of your families and every Jew in the world - now and forever. That is why the State of Israel was established in the first place," the prime minister told his guests.

He added, "We have sent three planes, two of which have already landed, with large amounts of medical equipment. We are there to help the Ukrainians in general, and the Jews in particular. Through you and through your connections in Ukraine, my message is: First, we are with you; and second, Israel is home to every Jewish man and woman."

Masa CEO Ofer Gutman added that "in the past month we have witnessed a surge in demand among young people from Ukraine to attend Masa programs in Israel. In cooperation with the Government of Israel and the Jewish Agency, we are working hard, in Israel and in Ukraine, to enable anyone who wants to come on a Masa program to do so. We have hundreds of participants in the various programs who are affected by the situation, and we embrace them at this difficult time and provide them a cloak of assistance and support as much as possible. Every year, hundreds of young people from Ukraine come to Israel and take part in a variety of travel programs. The young men and women who attended the meeting with the Prime Minister came to Israel from various cities in Ukraine, including: Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa and Zaporozhye, and they participate in "Masa Doctors" programs (specialization in medical professions and integration in the public medical system) and "Masa Career" (integration in various organizations and companies In the economy in a variety of roles).

After the program, many of the program participants choose to immigrate to Israel and continue their lives there.