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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Ukraine’

Rivlin to Travel to Ukraine for 75th Babi Yar Commemoration

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

President Reuven Rivlin is set to travel to Ukraine for a state visit Monday evening with the First Lady to participate in the 75th anniversary commemoration of the Babi Yar Massacre.

The president is scheduled to lay a wreath on Tuesday during a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Kiev, and at the memorial to the Holodomor, the mass starvation in the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33.

Rivlin will also meet with his Ukraine counterpart, President Poroshenko, and will also address a special plenary session of the Ukraine Parliament.

Later in the week, Rivlin will meet with Jewish community leaders in Kiev at the Intercontinental Hotel. He will also meet with Ukraine Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman at the prime minister’s office.

Rivlin will join other world leaders and other officials who are expected to attend a ceremony on Thursday commemorating 75 years since the Babi Yar Massacre.

The First Couple are scheduled to return to Israel on Friday morning, ahead of the Sabbath.

Hana Levi Julian

Rabbi Arrested for Plotting to Murder Get Refuser in Kiryas Joel

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Rabbi Aharon Goldberg, 55, and Shimon Liebowitz, 25, were arrested in Central Valley, NY, Tuesday, when they were meeting to plot the kidnapping and murder of a husband who is refusing to give his wife a get, federal officials said Wednesday. They were charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and conspiracy to commit murder for hire.

Prosecutors said the Liebowitz belongs to the Satmar community in Kiryas Joel, NY, and Goldberg, originally from Bnei Brak, Israel, is “a prominent rabbi in Kiryas Joel.”

The FBI said Goldberg and Liebowitz contacted an individual in early July to kidnap the husband and force him to give a get to his wife, on penalty of death. The man they recruited then contacted the Bureau about the plot and began recording his conversations with the two suspects. The code name for the plan was “Wedding.” They discussed kidnapping, torturing and forcing the get from the husband, either in the US or when he was on a trip to Ukraine. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Goldberg and Liebowitz paid the FBI informant about $55,000 for what he called a “chilling plot.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney Jr. stated in a press release: “As if the plan to kidnap the victim and force him to divorce his wife in this alleged conspiracy wasn’t bad enough, the plotters allegedly decided halfway through the arrangement to go a step further and add murder to the list of their planned crimes. Our country protects freedom of religious beliefs and practices, but no one is allowed to plot a kidnapping and murder regardless of their motivation.”

David Israel

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

Swastikas, Anti-Semitic Graffiti on Ukraine Synagogue

Friday, August 19th, 2016

The front doorway of a synagogue in Kolomia in western Ukraine was sprayed with a swastika and anti-Semitic slogans Thursday night, an official of the local Jewish community has told TPS. The official, Jacob Zlishiker, said the identity of the perpetrator is not known, and added that these things are routine in this city, and police are treating them very seriously.

The local Jewish cemetery also sustained some damage overnight.

The Kolomyia Synagogue graffiti / Photo credit: TPS

The Kolomyia Synagogue graffiti / Photo credit: TPS

Kolomia, which used to be the most developed city in the region before the war, boasted a large Jewish community, with about 19,000 Jews out of a general population of 43,000. The Jewish community was “culturally vibrant and complex,” influencing the Jewish culture of Galicia, according to the website Jewish Galicia & Bukovina. Before the war there were some 50 synagogues in Kolomia, among them the magnificent Hoiche Shul, a Yerushalmi synagogue, several Hassidic kloizes and even a Zionist synagogue.

In 1941, all of the Jews of Kolomia and its environs were concentrated in a ghetto that was divided into three separate sections. In 1942, these sections were burned and the entire population of the ghetto was annihilated: some were murdered in the city streets, others were taken to the Belzec extermination camp, and the rest were shot in the forest outside the village of Sheparivtsy, near the city.

A few dozen Jews returned to Kolomia after its liberation by the Soviet army and they continue to maintain a small community around the synagogue.

David Israel

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

Knesset Committee Approves $80 Million to Support New Immigrants

Monday, August 15th, 2016

The Knesset Finance Committee, headed by MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism), on Monday approved the transfer of an additional $80 million to the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, mainly for the purpose of finding housing solutions for elderly immigrants.

Some of the funds are designated for encouraging entrepreneurship among new immigrants from France, Belgium, and Ukraine.

Of the amount allotted, about $68 million are designated for housing solutions for elderly immigrants; $4 million for encouraging entrepreneurship among new immigrants, including employment fairs and seminars for new immigrants, coupons for Hebrew lessons, absorption-related activities in local authorities, encouraging Aliyah abroad by strengthening the professional capabilities of potential olim, and adding more operators to the information call center for those interested in making Aliyah; $2 million for the implementation of the government’s decision to allow members of the Bnei Menashe community entry into Israel, and $1.3 million are designated for increasing the assistance provided to immigrant soldiers who are recognized by the IDF as lone soldiers or as soldiers who are eligible for family stipends.

JNi.Media

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

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ukraine-jews-come-home-helped-by-israel-ifcj/2016/07/28/

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