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IFCJ marks 100 flights bringing Jewish Ukrainians to Israel

Since the war broke out, the NGO has brought 5,500 olim on aliyah.

Aliyah and Integration Minister Ofir Sofer (center) and IFCJ President Yael Eckstein (right) welcome Ukrainian olim at Ben-Gurion Airport, Feb. 8, 2023. Photo by Avishag Shaar-Yashuv/IFCJ.
Aliyah and Integration Minister Ofir Sofer (center) and IFCJ President Yael Eckstein (right) welcome Ukrainian olim at Ben-Gurion Airport, Feb. 8, 2023. Photo by Avishag Shaar-Yashuv/IFCJ.

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has marked its 100th flight bringing Ukrainian Jewish refugees to Israel since Russia invaded the European nation in February 2022.

The IFCJ has brought 5,500 immigrants to Israel via Chisinau (formerly known as Kishinev), Moldova, ranging in age from four months old to 100 years old.

While more than 1,000 of the immigrants are retirees, over 400 are certified engineers, some 200 are economists and another 200 are teachers, along with four politicians.

“The arrival of these latest [32] immigrants [last week] marks 500 days of a war to which there is no end in sight,” said Yael Eckstein, president of the IFCJ. “We are committed to return Jews home to Israel from any place in the world where they are in danger and will continue to do so whenever there is a need.

The process of aliyah from Ukraine has changed drastically in the past year and with the help of our donors all around the world, we will continue to respond to and support the changing needs on the ground at all times,” she said.

When the war began, the IFCJ launched an emergency aid program for the Jewish community that included grants of nearly $60 million to organizations that operate in the field, among them the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and Chabad, to ensure the distribution of food, medications, blankets, generators and more.

Karnina Kovinina, 29, who immigrated with her husband, Alexander, and seven-year-old daughter Daria, said of the situation in Ukraine: “The attacks are very frightening, and everyone is worried all the time about their families and friends. Each time we hear a siren, we immediately make a round of calls to make sure everyone is okay. Three good friends of mine were killed in the battles. It is a loss that is hard to describe.”

Alexander was drafted at the beginning of the war and fought on the front lines until he was wounded.

“When my husband said he wanted to enlist, I did not sleep for nights. I cried without stopping. I left my phone on at night and was panicked every time I heard the phone ring,” explained Karnina.

“My daughter is very afraid, and it is important for us to make her feel safe. We look forward to our new life in Israel and are excited that we found an apartment near the sea,” she said.

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