Minister Gantz at Ben Gurion Airport
Minister Gantz at Ben Gurion AirportAriel Hermoni, Defense Ministry

Defense Minister Benny Gantz toured Ben Gurion Airport Tuesday together with Immigration and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata, National Emergency Authority (NEMA) Director Brigadier General (Res.) Yoram Laredo, and Head of the National Mission for Immigrant Absorption from Ukraine and Russia, Meir Spiegler.

Prior to this, the Defense Minister held a discussion regarding the efforts of the defense establishment with the participation of Operations Division head Maj. Gen. Oded Basiuk, and Deputy Director General of the Defense Ministry Avi Dadon.

During the tour, the arrival route at Ben Gurion Airport was presented, a dialogue was held with the soldiers who assist in the absorption of the immigrants and in interviews with them, as well as an assessment of the situation at the "Olim Habaita" operation operated by NEMA.

Minister Gantz said that "the circumstances of the people coming here are difficult circumstances. The State of Israel has always been their home, and now they are realizing their return home and we are happy that we can help. The defense establishment will do everything possible to help together with the Immigrant and Absorption Ministry and with other ministries, and the operation headed by Meir Spiegler."

"Ultimately, it is a great challenge for all Israeli government ministries to be able to absorb everyone who comes here, and we are very happy for this privilege given to us to do so. It is a first-rate Zionist act. That is exactly why the State of Israel, the home of the Jewish people, exists," he added.

Ganz recounted, "We met a soldier here at the border, whose mother came with his sister, and we're heard here of more moving stories. This is the nature of this phenomenon. We have to do everything possible to absorb them in the best possible way."

"This is a good opportunity to tell the citizens of Israel that all we see here is just the stage of arriving in Israel. The absorption process is long and takes many years. We need to open our hearts, we need to open our homes, we need to open jobs. The whole society will have to mobilize," Gantz concluded.

Immigration and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata said: "You see around you the pictures, the very, very great effort made overseas, and now also here to absorb the immigrants who are there. Some numbers: Since the outbreak of the war over 4,000 people have immigrated to Israel. There are some that we are still getting them into our departments in the counties because they came out via Terminal 3. This week, according to the forecast, we will end up with over 2,500 more new immigrants. And we see that the number of immigrants who arrive is growing."

"We currently have about 1,000 immigrants in hotels. We give them the initial help . For us, we are preparing to the highest level so that we can receive our brothers and sisters from Ukraine and Russia in the best possible way. I want to thank you, the Defense Minister, for bringing the IDF soldiers here, and also the people of NEMA. There is no doubt that the IDF has always been a key partner in the absorption of immigrants throughout the years of the State of Israel, so to see the soldiers here is very moving. Everyone has an aliyah story. We met the Russian and Ukrainian-speaking soldiers many of whose families are still there. And this task is not simple, but together, with G-d's help, we will do it and succeed," she concluded.