|JERUSALEM – With the assistance of the Jewish Agency and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship), 53 new olim (immigrants) from Ukraine landed in Israel on Monday evening. Two days earlier, 44 olim from Uzbekistan and Georgia also arrived in Israel. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the Jewish Agency and The Fellowship in cooperation with numerous agencies abroad and in Israel have been working together to bring olim to Israel over the past couple of months. The olim have been eagerly awaiting their arrival in Israel since their original dates for aliyah (immigrating to Israel) were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Dilyara (54) from Uzbekistan’s capital of Tashkent said excitedly: “Our dream of aliyah has finally come to fruition. We are parents of six girls, four of whom are already in Israel. Our fifth daughter, Rakhil, is making aliyah with us while the sixth is planning her aliyah soon thereafter. Education in our home was unequivocally Zionist, and we are proud of our daughters who are fulfilling this dream with us.” At the end of their mandatory period of quarantine, Dilyara will reunite with the rest of her daughters, who live in Kiryat Yam.
The father of the family, Vladimir (50), is the owner of a construction company and hopes to continue working in this field in Israel. “Our aliyah came about out of Zionist aspirations. Whenever we visited family in Israel, we felt at home.”
Among the olim from Georgia were Mikheil (38), Nino (27) and son Nika (6) who lived in Zugdidi. Mikheil, an economist by profession, noted, “We are the last Jewish family in the city as everyone has already made it to Israel. We celebrated the recent holidays with family members in Israel over video chat. Now that we have made aliyah, we can celebrate with them all together in one place. We originally planned to come in March and to celebrate Passover together, but the borders were closed so we were forced to wait until now.”
Not too long ago, Nino completed her medical studies and regrets not having been able to take part in the battle against coronavirus in Israel. “I paid attention to the guidelines that Israel put in place to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, and I was amazed by the state’s capabilities and high level of functioning. I understand that my path towards joining the network of Israeli physicians and obtaining an Israeli medical license is a long one, but I am determined to continue my profession in Israel as well as to contribute my abilities and skills to my country.”
After their mandatory days in quarantine, the family members are expected to live in Kiryat Yam, close to their family members. Their son Nika is eagerly awaiting to integrate into Israel and start first grade next school year.
The Jewish Agency’s Chairman and former welfare minister and Knesset member, Isaac Herzog, said, “Aliyah from all over the world has never stopped, not during times of war nor during the current crisis of the coronavirus that has paralyzed the entire world. I wish the olim a lot of success. With their new lives in Israel, they are continuing the exciting legacy of families, couples and individuals who have decided to fulfill the Zionist dream.”
President and CEO of The Fellowship, Yael Eckstein, said: “The Fellowship is working tirelessly to help Jews around the world realize their dream of making aliyah to Israel while also adhering to existing health and safety precautions. We are grateful to our partners at the Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption and Home Front Command for their cooperation in this very challenging mission, and we wish the olim health and prosperity in the new homes.”
For more than 25 years, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has been helping Jews make aliyah and has invested more than $200 million in bringing over 750,000 olim to Israel. The Fellowship has also been a major contributor to the Jewish Agency and helped establish the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization. In 2014, The Fellowship began operating independently in the field of immigration and has brought more 23,000 olim to Israel from 30 countries around the world. The olim receive comprehensive assistance from The Fellowship including special grants of $500 per adult and $300 per child. The Fellowship also sponsors their flights to Israel and ensures that they receive the absorption services that they are entitled to under Israeli law. Additionally, The Fellowship works to make sure that immigrant families are absorbed within their respective municipalities, particularly with regard to housing and employment, and continues to advise the families even after their absorption process.