Hundreds of Ukranian Jews land in Israel

Zionism and worsening conditions in East Ukraine jointly lead those with Jewish roots to seek a new life in Israel.

January 29, 2019 03:25
1 minute read.
Hundreds of Ukranian Jews land in Israel

Ukrainian-Jews reach Israel. (photo credit: IFCJ)


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School teachers in the city of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine began to vanish, said Vera Savitski, who used to teach there. He said they were taken to military service and didn't return. The city suffered heavy shelling during the ongoing conflict with Russia and she was forced to leave and spend time in a refugee camp. 

Now, Savitskiis in Israel.

She was one of 250 olim [immigrants] who landed in Israel earlier this week on a flight arranged by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.
The oldest person on the flight is 83 years old. The youngest is a 7-month-old baby. 

Ukraine was incorporated into the Soviet Union at the end of the war and ethnic Russians were encouraged to settle there. Soviet-Jews were also seen as a positive element in the process of building a new society. Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman is Jewish, a part of a large community that is deeply involved in the fate of Ukraine. 

The Tariuv family from Voznesensk said that they did what they could in Ukraine to keep Jewish holidays and traditions.

"We have reached the conclusion that all Jews must live in a country of their own, we want our children to be brought up and raised here," they said in a statement.

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews had been active for over 20 years in helping Jews from 29 countries build their lives in Israel and will offer volunteers to help the new Israelis seek work and find places to live at. Most of the new immigrants who arrived on Monday will live in the north of the country. 

Since 2014, Ukraine had faced a conflict with Russia which annexed Crimea, this is the first time Russia laid claim to new territory since the days of Stalin. 

"The Jews are scattered on both sides, in battle zones and in other areas," said Yaakov Haguel, deputy director of the World Zionist Organization to the Jerusalem Post. 

"The fighting against Russia has provoked a lot of aggression in the country," said a Ukrainian parliamentarian. "The criticism is directed at the government, at the oligarchs and the Jews. The narrative that Jews are to blame for everything is dangerous and reminds us of Germany before World War II."  

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