Anti-government protesters in Ukraine 370.
(photo credit: SAM SOKOL)
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, announced on Wednesday that the IFCJ had “increased its commitment to the Jewish community of Ukraine” beyond $10 million already pledged.
“Many Jewish schools, orphanages and other institutions are on lockdown, with Jews afraid even to walk outside for fear of becoming victims of anti-Semitic attacks,” Eckstein said in a statement issued during a three-day solidarity visit to the eastern European country.
“They are also dealing with great uncertainty about their economic future and personal safety,” he added. “Needs are growing as the crisis continues, and more Jews ask for our help. Local business leaders can no longer support the community, as they too have fallen into need; external donations are a lifeline for the Jews of Ukraine.”
Eckstein also called on other aid groups to increase their support for the community.
“This is not enough and we cannot do it alone – I join the Jewish community here in calling on all aid organizations to urgently do more,” he said.
Established in 1983, the IFCJ seeks to promote better understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews. It says it currently raises in excess of $120m. a year, most of it from Christians, to assist Israel and the Jewish people.
“We have given more than $150m. in the past decade to help Jewish communities in need in the former Soviet Union, but now the need is especially critical,” Eckstein said in Wednesday’s statement. “We must, and we will, meet this challenge. In situations such as this, I am so grateful that our donors – Christians in North America and around the world – are quick to show their deep love for the Jewish people by providing financial assistance to help Jews in crisis.”