A flight chartered by ZAKA community emergency response teams in Israel rescued Holocaust survivors who were stranded in Ukraine and brought them to Israel on Thursday — just one day ahead of the Passover holiday.
This is the third medical rescue flight from Ukraine to Israel, bringing 20 Ukrainian refugees — among them shelling victims, Holocaust survivors and disabled people — to celebrate what will be their first Passover Seder in the historic homeland of the Jewish people.
"On the eve of Independence Day, we are privileged to help and save the lives of refugees who were forced to flee for their lives,” said Eliezer Samet, a volunteer for the ZAKA delegation at the aid complex in Moldova, where the refugees were processed before being taken to Israel. “Broken and utterly desperate people come here, some staying in a closed basement under bombs for over a month without food and water, until rescued by volunteers who saved their lives."
Among the refugees is a 62-year-old Jew who was rescued by a team of ZAKA volunteers from the city of Kharkiv after being injured by shrapnel from a missile strike. He was out looking for food for his family when he was injured.
"Increasing fighting in some areas in the heart of Ukraine presents us with many challenges and makes the rescues extremely complex. Wounded and elderly people with complex medical problems arrive at the humanitarian aid complex we have set up after days of suffering,” explained Nachman Dickstein, Deputy Commander of ZAKA Ukraine.
Upon landing in Israel, they were greeted by ZAKA volunteers, as well as representatives of the Absorption Ministry, Foreign Affairs and Health Ministry, and ambulances that evacuated the elderly and injured to hospitals and adapted medical institutions.
“I would like to thank our organizations and partners throughout the way we are able to carry out the actual rescue operations,” declared Dubi Weissenstein, CEO of ZAKA. “Thanks to (them) we can act in peace and do everything possible to save more and more people, assist with medical supervision and fly them to Israel safely.”