By IFCJ TEL AVIV - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed 121 new olim (immigrants) from Ukraine on Monday morning at a special reception ceremony held at the foot of their plane.
The olim, who arrived on a special flight organized by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, were filled with excitement at the welcoming ceremony that was prepared for them, which also included the participation and attendance of Israel’s Absorption Minister Yoav Gallant and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship), Yael Eckstein.
Netanyahu, who ascended the plane and took time to shake hands and speak with the new olim at the ceremony, said, “I am especially pleased to see the children who moved to Israel today. These children have a wonderful future here in Israel. Here is your home, and here is your place. I invite you to share with me any details about your absorption process, and if you have any problems, I am here at your service.”
Asked about what he has to say about The Fellowship, Netanyahu said, “I think this is great. I think bringing the Jewish people to the Jewish state is a great mitzvah and anybody who does that is doing a great thing for the Jewish future. Thank you.”
“It is a great honor today for us to host Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Absorption Minister Yoav Gallant, both of whom are welcoming with us 121 new olim out of the 308 who are expected to land today from Ukraine alone,” Eckstein said.
The immigrants referred to both a deteriorating economic situation and a prevalence of anti-Semitism as two primary factors motivating them to move to Israel. Olga Chinui, a former resident of Kiev who moved to Israel with her husband and son, said, “My son was asked by his teacher to remove the Star of David around his neck.” Olga and her family are expected to settle in Katzrin, often referred to as the “capital of the Golan Heights.”
Eckstein added, “We live in a complex reality. On the one hand, manifestations of anti-Semitism are increasing in Europe. On the other hand, as the prophets said...the people of Israel have returned to their homes in Zion.”
The coastal city of Haifa will absorb 24 of the olim, the largest number among the group moving to a respective municipality. The age range among the olim spans from a 9-month-old infant to a 78-year-old Jewish immigrant. Forty of the olim are under the age of 18.
“As the olim get off the plane and land safely, we are filled with joy and celebration at the opportunity of bringing new olim to Israel who are included among the more than 19,000 olim that The Fellowship has brought to Israel over the last four years,” said Yael Eckstein. “We share the celebrations of joy with our overseas friends who generously donate to help us continue with this special undertaking.”
For more than 20 years, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has been helping Jews from around the world to immigrate to Israel and has invested more than $200 million in bringing approximately 750,000 olim to Israel. The Fellowship has also been a major contributor to the Jewish Agency and helped to establish the Nefesh B'Nefesh organization. In 2014, The Fellowship began operating independently in the field of immigration. Since then, The Fellowship has brought more than 19,000 olim to Israel from over 30 countries around the world. The olim receive comprehensive assistance from The Fellowship.
Additionally, The Fellowship works to make sure that immigrant families are absorbed within their respective municipalities, paying particular attention to housing and employment. Moreover, The Fellowship continues to advise the families even after their absorption process.
Photo Credit: Noam Moskowitz
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) was founded in 1983 to promote better understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews and build broad support for Israel. Today it is one of the leading forces helping Israel and Jews in need worldwide — and is the largest channel of Christian support for Israel. Founded by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship now raises more than $120 million per year, mostly from Christians, to assist Israel and the Jewish people. Since its founding, The Fellowship has raised more than $1.6 billion for this work. The organization has offices in Jerusalem, Chicago, Toronto and Seoul. For more information, visit www.ifcj.org.
Yael Eckstein is the president of the International Fellowship of Christian and Jews. As President, Eckstein oversees all ministry programs and serves as the organization’s international spokesperson. She can be heard on The Fellowship’s daily radio program airing on 1,500 stations worldwide. Before her present duties, Yael served as global executive vice president, senior vice president, and director of program development and ministry outreach. Based in Jerusalem, Yael is a published writer, leading international advocate for persecuted religious minorities, and a respected social services professional. As President of The Fellowship, she also holds the rare distinction of being a woman leading one of America’s largest religious not-for-profit organizations.