(JNS.org) On Tuesday, 116 Ukrainian Jews arrived safely in Israel as part of the ongoing “Freedom Flight” initiative by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship), which helps threatened Jewish communities around the world.
“The situation in Ukraine remains dire and it is our responsibility to take care of Ukraine’s Jews,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of The Fellowship. “As our aliyah efforts in 2015 have shown, the better we get at providing aliyah and klitah (absorption) services, the more people will be inclined to take the leap and come home to Israel.”
According to The Fellowship, most of the new immigrants are from eastern Ukraine, where they fled the fighting between the government and Russian-backed separatists. In addition to subsidies they receive from the Israeli government, The Fellowship provides the immigrants with $1,000 per adult and $500 per child. The Fellowship also provides expanded benefits to the immigrants to cover medical needs, dental treatments, food, clothing, tutors for schoolchildren, and more.
Overall, the Freedom Flight program has brought 2,365 Jews to Israel since December 2014 from countries such as Ukraine, France, Turkey, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
Last year, Israel saw a 12-year high in immigration, with 30,883 people arriving. Most of those immigrants came from three countries: France (7,900), Ukraine (7,300), and Russia (6,800).