Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday was at the Ben Gurion Airport to welcome 121 new Olim (immigrants) from Ukraine at a special reception ceremony held at the foot of their plane.
The Olim, who arrived on a special flight organized by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, known in Israel as the Keren L’Yedidut, were deeply moved by the welcoming committee, which included Absorption Minister Yoav Gallant and IFCJ president Yael Eckstein.
The 121 new immigrants were the first of 308 new immigrants from Ukraine who are arriving in Israel during the summer.
Netanyahu, who ascended the plane and took time to shake hands and speak with the newcomers, said at the ceremony that he was “especially pleased to see the children who moved to Israel today. These children have a wonderful future here in Israel.”
“Here is your home, and here is your place. I invite you to share with me any details about your absorption process, and if you have any problems, I am here at your service,” he told the Olim.
Netanyahu also lauded the IFCJ’s actions, saying that “bringing the Jewish people to the Jewish state is a great mitzvah (Jewish commandment) and anybody who does that is doing a great thing for the Jewish future. Thank you.”
The Olim said that the deteriorating economic situation in Ukraine and the prevalence of anti-Semitism are the two primary factors motivating them to move to Israel.
Olga Chinui, a former resident of Kiev who moved to Israel with her husband and son, shared that her son was asked by his teacher to remove the Star of David from around his neck. Olga and her family are expected to settle in Katzrin in the Golan Heights.”
Eckstein touched on the uniqueness of our times.
“We live in a complex reality. On the one hand, manifestations of anti-Semitism are increasing in Europe. On the other hand, as the prophets said, the children (Jews) shall return to their borders and the people of Israel have returned to their homes in Zion,” she said.
Gallant stated that the absorption of new Olim from all over the world in the State of Israel “is an important goal in and of itself and is an essential need to fortify the State of Israel and strengthen the Jewish people.”
From the beginning of the year, the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption has absorbed more than 17,000 new Olim from all over the world, an increase of 25% compared to 2018. This summer, thousands of additional Olim from all over the world are expected to arrive.
The coastal city of Haifa will absorb 24 of the Olim. The age range among the Olim spans from a 9-month-old infant to one of 78 years of age. 40of the Olim are under the age of 18.
“As the Olim get off the plane and land safely, we are filled with joy and celebration at the opportunity of bringing new Olim to Israel who are included among the more than 19,000 Olim that The Fellowship has brought to Israel over the last four years,” Eckstein added. “We share the celebrations of joy with our overseas friends who generously donate to help us continue with this special undertaking.”