Some 300 olim (new immigrants) arrived at Ben Gurion airport on Tuesday to kick off their aliya journey. The immigrants, whose flight was organized by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFJC), were greeted by singing groups who welcomed their arrival along with Immigration and Absorption Minister Sofa Landver and IFCJ Director-General, Jeff Kaye.
IFCJ plays a critical role in bringing new immigrants to Israel. For over 20 years, the organization has spent more than $200 million to help bring 750,000 immigrants to the Jewish state.
In an unprecedented move by the IFCJ, the organization eliminated much of the red tape new immigrants must grapple with when they arrive by bringing Interior Ministry representatives to Ukraine a week before their arrival. Doing so allows the immigrants to focus on what matters most: adjusting to their new home.
The 293 olim came after years of hardship in their war-torn home country.
"As we speak, chaos reigns in the region of our home. We were forced to leave our house, which we were unable to sell, behind us. Life is no longer safe in the area from which we are arriving. In addition, I am an attorney, a valueless profession in a war-torn region; the local Ukrainian residents are unable to afford my services now, leaving me without any livelihood at all,” lamented Konstanin Kovton, who made aliyah with his wife and son from the industrial city of Donetsk.
The IFCJ’s founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, said the summer brings an “exciting period of peak immigration to Israel, and today’s immigrants carry with them new, fresh hopes for our Jewish homeland. Every child, man and woman who arrives here brings limitless new horizons for the Jewish homeland!”
This week’s arrivals are expected to be absorbed in 33 cities across the country; 38 are settling in Haifa, 28 in Nahariya, 23 in Upper Nazareth and 22 in Rishon Lezion. Of the arrivals, 74 are children under the age of 18 and 47 of those are under the age of 10. The youngest arrival is seven months old; the oldest is 80.
These olim are in addition to 340 others coming on 17 different flights from eight countries who arrived with the IFCJ earlier this month.
This article was written in cooperation with the IFCJ.