Photo Credit: Hana Levi Julian
Ukrainian refugees line up for lunch in Kishinev. March 16, 2022.

The JewishPress.com has sent Hana Levi Julian to the Ukrainian border with a United Hatzalah mission, to report on the refugees, the Jewish aid efforts and the situation in Ukraine. This is one of the reports in a series of diary entries of what Hana is witnessing. 

March 16, 2022 – Not everyone in a refugee camp wants to go to Israel. At the Kishinev refugee camp, where 80 Jews were trying to figure out their next destination, just six said they wanted to go to the Jewish State. All had first-degree relatives or Israeli citizenship.
Marie, a resident of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s hometown, said she was heading
to Haifa with her close friend, also named Marie.

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The 31-year-old web designer said living so close to Dnipro and hearing the bombing
was enough to convince her it was time to go.

She took with her the things that make life worth living: photos, documents and her
small cat, whose name I could not pronounce even after several attempts. Spelling it
was impossible.

Marie and her friend lamented the horrific, “needless” war, mourning the deaths of “at
least 10,000” people in Mariupol.

She spoke sadly about the young woman with a newborn who died in the bombing of a
maternity hospital in the besieged port city.

Exasperation and anger writ across her face, she told the story of her “now ex-friend” in
Russia who didn’t believe her tales of that country’s invasion of Ukraine.

“You are watching too much television,” her friend told her. “And even if there is some
truth to it, it is necessary. You don’t understand that right now, but you will” she was
told. “It’s a good thing, believe me.”

The second Marie had a similar story. She had called her aunt in Moscow at the start
of the invasion to tell her what was happening, but was not believed. The aunt called
her sister in Israel to tell her that her daughter was ‘spreading lies.’ A week later, they
spoke again. Now the aunt believes her, but as with others she said “It’s a good thing –
it is necessary.”

Tears in their eyes, neither refugee could understand “these Putin zombies.”

Both intend to return “home” when the war is over. Whether there is where to return to
remains to be seen.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.