President Herzog visits new olim from Ukraine in Jerusalem hotel

Eager to hear what these new immigrants experienced as they fled from war-torn Ukraine, President Isaac Herzog invited them to tell their stories.

 President Isaac Herzog meeting Ukrainian olim in a Jerusalem hotel, March 17, 2022.   (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
President Isaac Herzog meeting Ukrainian olim in a Jerusalem hotel, March 17, 2022.
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

Accompanied by Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, Jewish Agency Deputy Chairman Yaron Shavit and director of the Jewish Agency Aliyah Unit Shay Felber, President Isaac Herzog and his wife, Michal, on Thursday morning met with immigrants from Ukraine at the Caesar Hotel in Jerusalem.

Eager to hear what these new immigrants experienced as they fled from war-torn Ukraine, Herzog invited them to tell their stories.

The similarity in the stories was the suddenness with which they had to make decisions. One woman, a teacher with relatives in Russia, was desperate. She didn’t know where to go, where to run. But she decided that the safest thing to do was to come with her 11-year-old son to Israel. However, she did not abandon her students in Ukraine and continues to teach them remotely via social media

A returning Israeli who was born in Ukraine but came to Israel in the 1990s, returned to his native country after serving in the Israeli army. He escaped via Moldova in a bus transporting many women and children.

Herzog listened attentively and responded with empathy, telling the newcomers that even though their world has turned topsy-turvy and the days ahead look difficult, “We are proving once again that the people of Israel lives, and can confront any challenge anywhere and embraces its brothers and sisters everywhere” He assured them that together with his wife, he welcomes them with open arms.

 President Isaac Herzog meets with new olim from Ukraine in Jerusalem on March 17, 2022. (credit: KOBY GIDEON/GPO) President Isaac Herzog meets with new olim from Ukraine in Jerusalem on March 17, 2022. (credit: KOBY GIDEON/GPO)

Tamano-Shata added that in order to understand the magnitude of the hour, it was important to meet face-to-face with the new immigrants who made aliyah from war zones in recent days, arriving destitute.

Lion welcomed the new immigrants, saying, “The city of Jerusalem welcomes those coming to Jerusalem from Ukraine! You are very much wanted here, and we will continue helping you with every means at our disposal to ensure your easy, swift and pleasant integration. This is a difficult hour of crisis in Ukraine, and we are here by your side, for each and every one of you.”

The mayor concluded by saying that he prayed with them that the war would end very soon.

The Jewish Agency’s Felber noted that the fact the president of Israel, the minister and the mayor have come to meet the immigrants, is indicative of how welcome they are.