The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ/The Fellowship) organized two flights this week from Ukraine to bring 400 olim (new immigrants) to a new life in Israel. It brings to more than 1,000 the number of new immigrants that the IFCJ has facilitated making aliyah (literally elevation).
The Ukrainian immigrants came to Israel largely to escape economic hardship and the ongoing violence in the Ukrainian civil war. Since the outbreak of the fighting in 2014, many Jews have been forced to flee their homes, while others have seen their properties severely damaged. The latest immigrants follow 740 others on 19 flights from eight countries who arrived with The Fellowship earlier this summer.
Despite coming from a war zone, approximately 40 people have decided to live in areas abutting the Gaza Strip, which saw an escalation in violence during the summer.
Among the immigrants were 93 children who are expected to begin school in Israel next week, including 10 children who will begin their first year of grade school. Some of the immigrants said seeing their children attend Israeli schools played a major factor in their decision to make aliyah.
“It is very important to us that our son will have the opportunity to integrate into the education system in Israel, which is of a high standard and with a connection to the values of Judaism,” said Stanislaw Kasienko, one of the immigrants.
The Fellowship’s Founder and President, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, said The Fellowship has seen a recent spike in immigration. “We are excited to see a record number of immigrants coming to Israel from all over the world this summer. It’s incredibly moving to see the children and their families so excited about starting school in Israel, and I call on the Israeli public to welcome the immigrants with open arms. Every child, man and woman who arrives here expands our horizons of hope and dreams for our Jewish future.”
IFCJ is supported by hundreds of thousands of evangelical Christians around the world and its recent efforts have been increasingly directed toward bringing new immigrants to Israel. Since 2014 – when the Fellowship began working independently from the Jewish Agency and Nefesh B’Nefesh – it has brought more than 14,500 new immigrants to Israel from 26 countries where Jews are facing rising anti-Semitism, are threatened by terrorism or are suffering economic hardship.