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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘International Fellowship of Christians and Jews’

211 New Immigrants Flee to Israel From War-Torn Ukraine

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

With the increase of hostilities on the Russian-Ukrainian border in recent weeks, 211 new immigrants from Ukraine landed Tuesday at Ben Gurion Airport.

Most came from the embattled regions in the eastern part of Ukraine, arriving on the 19th flight sponsored by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) since hostilities broke out between the two countries.

“There has been a significant increase in calls from potential Olim to the IFCJ representatives in Ukraine and we are doing everything to give them the best possible service so that they can begin new and secure lives in Israel, which was and still is the home for any person who is part of the Jewish people,” noted Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, IFCJ president.

Approximately 4,000 immigrants have fled to Israel from Ukraine on flights sponsored by the organization since December 2014. Among those who arrived Tuesday were 37 children who are to begin their studies in Israeli schools in two days, including nine in the first grade.

Natalia S. arrived in Israel with her mother and son, and said that she was forced to leave the city of Marinka in the Donetsk region in Eastern Ukraine after the extensive bombing in the city that began in April 2014. The building where her family lived was bombed and some of their neighbors were killed.

Natalia explained that her family’s Jewishness was kept secret by her grandmother who had survived the Holocaust, while her husband, Natalia’s grandfather, was in a concentration camp. As a result, she says, “we knew we had Jewish roots but did not have the documents to prove it.”

According to Natalia, during one of the family’s visits to the Holocaust Museum an employee at the site advised her about which archive to search in order to find documents that would prove their Jewish roots.

“Because of the advice we were given, we went later to the archive and found my grandmother’s documents. In the documents, we read that she had changed her name and her father’s name, from “Alia” and “Avraham” to “Lisa” and “Peter,” she said. Natalia, her mother, and her son are planning to settle in Akko. Among Tuesday’s group of new olim there were seven babies, including two who were only six months old. The oldest person on the flight was age 82, and the average age of the group was 34. The preferred destination for the immigrants was Haifa, where 42 of the new arrivals elected to settle.

Most of the olim came from the Dniepropetrovsk region, which has become one of the preferred destinations for refugees escaping the embattled areas in Eastern Ukraine because of its proximity and the fact that it is still in Ukrainian hands.

The IFCJ assists the Olim to Israel with special grants of $1,000 for each adult oleh and $500 for each child, in addition to financing the flight to Israel. This support is provided by the organization in addition to the standard basket of benefits each immigrant receives from the Israel Ministry of Aliyah and Absorption. The organization also arranges the absorption of the new immigrant families with the various local authorities prior to their arrival in Israel, recruiting locals to accompany the new olim as they seek housing and employment and settle in to their new surroundings.

Hana Levi Julian

Hundreds More Ukraine Jews Preparing to Flee

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Hundreds of Ukraine Jews are reportedly planning to flee the country due to the increasingly unstable living conditions.

Ukraine is still in a conflict with Russia over Crimea and the eastern Donbass province. Some 40,000 Russian troops massed along the Crimea-Ukraine border last week, prompting Ukraine to place its own troops on high alert ahead of the 25th Ukraine Independence Day.

Separatist forces helped Russia annex Crimea in 2014 in a vicious conflict that left thousands dead.

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews reports its Kiev office has received more than 1,700 inquiries from Ukraine Jews over the past month about aliyah to Israel, which the organization helps facilitate.

An estimated 260,000 Jews are allegedly still living in the war-torn country. According to the NGO, there are about 5,000 Jews in the disputed Donbass region who are eligible to immigrate to Israel.

Many Jews in the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, both in Donbass, are unable to reach the area of Ukraine where they can collect their basic state pensions of some $40 per month, due to attacks and military checkpoints.

Local authorities in Donbass recently jailed a Jewish community official who helped the Fellowship administer local humanitarian aid, and then exiled him west to the Ukraine capital, Kiev.

As often happens in times of war, the Jewish community has been caught in the crossfire between Ukraine forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and Crimea.

Hana Levi Julian

More Jews Flee to Israel, Escaping Terror in France

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

More Jews are fleeing the rising terror and anti-Semitism in France. On Tuesday 145 new French immigrants landed at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv.

The 38 families range from infancy to age 88 and include 78 children. They arrived with the assistance of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.

The organization is helping new Israeli immigrants in addition to the regular benefits received by olim from the Jewish Agency for the State of Israel.

Most of the new olim — 111 of the immigrants — came from Paris. Many left behind not just their homes, but successful businesses as well, which they had to sell prior to their aliyah.

Those who arrived Tuesday cited the drastic rise in anti-Semitism in France as the main reason for leaving their homes.

Hana Levi Julian

Ukraine Jews Come ‘Home’ Helped By Israel & IFCJ

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

A new group of 235 immigrants from Ukraine landed this week at Ben Gurion Internation Airport. Many of them arrived still badly traumatized from their experiences over the past two years in war-torn areas of the former Soviet satellite.

Many have been homeless, wandering from town to town, ducking bullets and praying for safety. More than a few have found themselves in the middle of what is known as the “The Republic of Luhansk”, a separatist state established in eastern Ukraine by Pro-Russian separatist forces. It is now a battlefield between the two factions.

The new Israelis made the trip with special assistance from the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. The organization is helping the new immigrants with grants of $1,000 for every adult and $500 per children. The group also paid for each new immigrant’s flight to Israel.

The flight was one of 28 that was arranged by the IFCJ in the past three months in order to bring new immigrants to Israel. On those flights were more than 4,000 new olim who came home to the Jewish State from places like Ukraine, France, South America and elsewhere.

The assistance came in additition to the regular benefits package provided to new immigrants by the State of Israel Ministry of Immigration and Absorption.

The youngest of the new olim is only six months old, and the oldest is age 95. They are set to live in 30 different cities across Israel, including Nahariya, Haifa, Netanya, Afula, Bat Yam, and Eilat.

Hana Levi Julian

IFCJ Warns Rising Israeli Arab Angst May Become Strategic Threat

Monday, January 25th, 2016

A new poll conducted on behalf of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews in the Israeli Arab population is raising red flags – and reinforcing recent warnings by President Reuven Rivlin about the rising popularity of Da’esh (ISIS) in that population.

Rivlin said that according to figures gleaned from “research studies, arrests, testimonies and covert analyses,” there is increasing support for Da’esh among Israeli Arabs.

The survey, conducted by the Stat-net Institute, polled a sample of 500 low-income Israeli Arabs. The findings showed that 67 percent of Israeli Arabs feel discriminated against, and 71 percent feel that low-income Israeli Jews receive more state aid than they do. Further, 54 percent of Israeli Arabs feel the government – including Israeli Arab Mks – do not care about their interests.

The poll was commissioned to measure the impact of The Fellowship’s financial support for low-income Israeli-Arab citizens, according to IFCJ founder and director Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. Instead, it came up with clanging bells and warning signs.

“The survey shows Israel should be caring more for its Arab citizens and investing in them the same way it does with its most vulnerable Jewish citizens, not only for moral reasons but also to counter the threat of political extremism and to promote patriotism. If we don’t invest in Israel’s citizens, ISIS will,” said IFCJ founder and director, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.

“We found a direct correlation between Israeli Arabs’ feelings of being treated equally to Jews and their sense of belonging to society and even their willingness to serve,” added Eckstein. “If we can change the numbers, we can avoid Israeli Arabs becoming a strategic threat.”

The IFCJ has invested more than $35 million on social welfare programs for Israeli Arabs in recent years, he said. Those investments included programs to help the elderly, children, and at-risk youth, and on drug abuse prevention, emergency financial aid, job empowerment for women, and other initiatives.

The survey found that among the low-income Israeli Arabs who felt they are being treated unfairly compared to poor Israeli Jews, only 20 percent said they “feel strongly or very strongly connected to Israel.”

Only 38 percent of Israeli Arabs who feel they lack equal rights in Israel said they would perform national service.

Of those who felt they were treated equally, 58 percent of Israeli Arabs said they would perform national service.

Rivlin warned a week ago (Jan. 18) that Israeli Arab teens are growing more enamored with becoming Da’esh operatives for the ISIS terror organization.

“The Islamic State is already here – that is no longer a secret,” Rivlin told participants at the ninth annual international conference of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS). “I am not speaking about territories bordering the State of Israel – but within Israel itself.” He, too, added that it is in the best interest of Israel to offer its Arab population a better future than the fantasies promised by terror groups such as Da’esh.

Rivlin said it is in the best interest of the state to offer Israel’s Arabs a better future than that promised by groups such as Da’esh. “If children are growing up without a dream, without hope or without aspirations, with the feeling that their blood and their lives are of a lesser value in the State of Israel, then we must think of how to offer them a dream, hope and faith,” Rivlin said.

Hana Levi Julian

In Honor of Ramadan, Help for East Jerusalem Families

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

In honor of Ramadan, food vouchers totaling 1 million NIS will be provided to 2,600 needy families in the Arab community by the International Fellowship of Christian and Jews (IFCJ), headed by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. Welfare departments throughout 69 municipalities, which the IFCJ provides assistance to on a regular basis, will distribute this aid. Mr. Hamed Elian, Assistant Director of the Welfare Office in East Jerusalem stated that: “The support we receive from IFCJ throughout the year is what saves these families from hunger. It is a light at the end of the tunnel for our population, a population in deep poverty, and economic and social need.” “This aid helps return hope to the lives of the people and is the only assistance that the residents of East Jerusalem receive,” he added.

Fasting on Ramadan began today, Thursday, June 18 and the holiday will conclude either on July 17 or 18 depending on the number of days in a lunar month. The holiday is followed by most of the 1.6 billion Muslims across the world. Eilan also noted that the percentage of poverty is high in East Jerusalem—with 75% of the families and 84% of children living below the poverty line. In 2015 alone, the IFCJ provided roughly 20 million NIS in aid to the needy among Israel’s Arab population and 140 milion NIS in the past few years. IFCJ’s flagship “Kupot Yedidut” program disburses much of this aid by providing 77 welfare departments throughout Israel with the means to purchase basic needs, such as food, medicine, clothing, transportation to medical treatments, and electrical appliances, among others, for needy families. IFCJ also supports programs for at-risk-Arab youth and single mothers. The IFCJ’s “Bekhavod U’Beyedidut” (“With Dignity and Fellowship”) program provides needy elderly – from all sectors, including Arab municipalities and East Jerusalem – with food, medicine and home visits. Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, President of the IFCJ commented that President Rubi Rivlin “recently appealed to the citizens of Israel to strengthen the spirit of solidarity among its various ethnic groups.”

“We believe that if the State of Israel and its nonprofit organizations would support minority communities in equal measure to the support they provide Jewish populations, then the resulting sense of belonging and respect would strengthen Israeli society as a whole,” declared Rabbi Eckstein.

“I wish our Muslim brothers a Ramadan Kareem—and hope that our aid will make it possible for thousands of families to celebrate the holiday with dignity and joy,” said Rabbi Eckstein.

Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency

110 Ukraine Jews Arrive on IFJC Refugee Rescue Flight

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

A special refugee rescue flight sponsored by the IFJC (International Fellowship of Christians and Jews) brought 110 Ukrainian Jews on their aliyah trip home to Israel on Tuesday.

Among the group was the husband of the late Irina Shelkayeba, killed at the beginning of February by a direct hit from a rocket that slammed into her home as she was cooking. The attack on the eastern Ukraine city of Donetsk was launched by pro-Russian separatists.

Irina’s husband and the rest of the family members who came with him on aliyah were met at Ben Gurion International Airport by her niece Liora Nissim. It was Nissim who had also assisted the family with their decision to leave Ukraine and move to Israel.

“I made aliyah myself 17 years ago as part of the Na’ale program, while my family remained in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine,” she explained.

“They lived next to the airport, an area in which the difficult battles were waging. This was continued on and on and they waited all this time for it to finally end. It is hard to leave home, especially when war is raging outside. Then the rocket fell and killed my aunt. The house was ruined. They remained with no property.

“I started aiding them from Israel. I heard the IFCJ is organizing refugee flights and I immediately called. Their representative contacted my broken family that fled under heavy shelling to the city of Dnieper and a month and a half later they were on their way to Israel”.

Tuesday’s flight was the third sponsored by IFJC since December, totaling 560 Jews rescued from Ukraine alone.

The organization says it has decided to increase its efforts in bringing home the thousands of Jews who are in distress in countries around the world, in the years to come. IFJC is supplementing the standard aid package granted to new immigrants in Israel, since many of the newcomers are battle refugees, and others were harshly affected by the economic state that Ukraine was suffering. In addition, IFJC reached out to local mayors across Israel to advocate for special support to the newcomers in their towns.

“Every generation has its own miracle of Exodus,” IFJC president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein said. “After years of involvement in the bringing of the newcomers from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, the IFJC is excited to be a central activist in the enterprise of rescuing the Jews of Ukraine that experience over a year now an ongoing emergency crisis.

“The IFJC wishes a happy Redemption Holiday to all the olim, and promises to stand by them till they are fully absorbed in Israel.”

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/110-ukraine-jews-arrive-on-ifjc-refugee-rescue-flight/2015/03/24/

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