The Jerusalem Post | Mother reunited with IDF officer son amid wave of Ukrainian aliyah

A mother and son were reunited at Ben-Gurion Airport last week amid a wave of 260 new olim (immigrants) from the Ukraine.

Tatiana Popovich (49) made aliyah from the small town of Bar, and was eager to reunite with her son, Maxim, who made aliyah to Israel several years ago to serve in the army.

“My son has been serving in the IDF as an officer and as a combat soldier for the past two years, and there are no words to describe how overcome I am with emotion,” she said as she reunited with her now 26-year-old son at the airport.

Maxim, who currently serves as an officer in the Etzioni Brigade of the Engineering Corps, made aliyah at the age of 22 after earning a bachelor’s degree in law.

“I decided I had a strong desire to move to Israel,” he explained. “Life in Ukraine was full of antisemitism and rife with economic problems, so I decided to move to Israel. My family, especially my mother, has supported me from the beginning.”

“I was very pleased that Maxim chose to move to Israel,” Tatiana said. “I too, on many occasions, have encountered antisemitism in Ukraine, and to me it means that we have no future there. Today, when I see my son as a soldier and an IDF officer, I am full of pride and assurances that living here in Israel is the right thing for him and for me.”

However, while he is happy to be reunited with his mother, Maxim still worries for the rest of his family.

“My father and brother are still living in Ukraine, as are my grandparents,” he said. “It is not possible for all my family members to make aliyah at this instant, but I really hope that we will be able to bring the rest of the family to Israel very soon. I impatiently await their arrival.”   

The wave of olim arrived throughout last week in a series of flights organized by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.

The Fellowship’s president, Yael Eckstein, said: “Family reunification is a special and exciting occasion that does not happen every day. It is even more exciting to see a combat soldier who is reunited with his mother and who will now able to finish his IDF service while knowing that someone close and dear is waiting for him at home here in Israel. We are immensely proud of our immigrants and happy to bring them and their families to Israel.” 

Eighty of the new olim will be taken in to Haifa, while Nahariya and Netanya will get 15 each and Bat Yam and Rishon Lezion will get 13 each.

Of the new olim, 57 were children under the age of 18, including one only six months old, while the oldest oleh was aged 85.

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