Saturday, 6 Jun 2020 - 14 of Sivan, 5780

Escaping Anti-Semitism, 184 immigrants from Ukraine arrived in Israel on International Holocaust Remembrance Day

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On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israel’s Diaspora Ministry published its report on anti-Semitism in 2019. According to the report, Ukraine was one of the countries in the former Soviet Union that had actually seen a decline in the number of anti-Semitic incidents overall. Nevertheless, anti-Semitic sentiment in Ukraine is still far from being eradicated. In fact, Ukraine saw an increase in the use of anti-Semitic rhetoric during the second half of 2019.

The first 184 olim (new immigrants) moving from Ukraine to Israel through the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews landed in Israel last Monday on 6 separate flights. Many of the olim said that anti-Semitism was a push factor in their decision to make aliyah (move to Israel). Alexander Shopotinsky (38) said:  “The situation here is very difficult, one of the worst in Europe as a whole, and I feel anti-Semitism is constantly increasing.”

On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israel’s Diaspora Ministry published its report on anti-Semitism in 2019. According to the report, Ukraine was one of the countries in the former Soviet Union that had actually seen a decline in the number of anti-Semitic incidents overall. Nevertheless, anti-Semitic sentiment in Ukraine is still far from being eradicated. In fact, Ukraine saw an increase in the use of anti-Semitic rhetoric during the second half of 2019.

A significant number of the olim also said they felt threatened and were attacked on a frequent basis because of their Jewish identity. For the Shopotinsky family of four, moving from the city of Kryvyi Rih to Israel was a decision they made without any doubts or reservations. Alexander, the family’s father and husband, said: “I have always been proud of my Judaism. Despite the mocking and scorn I received from every angle, I did not change my family name. They would harass me and call me various insults attacking my Jewish identity. All of these challenges made it clear to me that there was no way I and my wife Victoria (35) would allow our children, Sergey (13) and Elizabetha (7) to grow up with similar, unfortunate experiences. It was therefore critical for us to bring our family to Israel where our children can live openly as Jews and be proud of their Judaism.” The Shopotinsky family plans to settle in the city of Haifa where the couple seeks to find work and adapt to life in Israel.

The Fellowship said: “We are delighted to start the year by already helping dozens  olim from around the world move to Israel. Unfortunately, anti-Semitism is still lifting its head in many parts of the world, and many of the olim we have helped have experienced it in their lives. On this symbolic day, it is important to take note of how great it is that the Jewish people have a home where Jews can live with pride and without fear.”

Of the 184 olim from Ukraine that landed on Monday, 31 are children under eighteen, with the youngest being a one-year-old baby. The oldest oleh (new immigrant) is an 83-year-old Holocaust survivor. The city of Haifa is absorbing 20 olim, the largest portion of olim, followed by Netanya with 16 olim, Nahariya with 14 olim, Bat Yam and Acre each receiving 12 as well as Rishon LeZion and Kiryat Yam both of which are taking in 11 olim.

For more than 20 years, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has been helping Jews to make aliyah 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 20,500 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 basket that they are entitled to under Israeli law.

 

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