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Margarita talking with aliyah field worker Alina at the airport.
Thereafter, local Christians brought them, and other Jewish refugees, to a residence for Jewish refugees close to the mega city Dnepropetrovsk, where 70 Jewish refugees presently reside. It took 95 days before the travel documents were ready, due to obstacles in obtaining some documents. And then it was time to finally depart.
Heading for the refuge shelter for Jewish refugees
When we asked Margarita how she felt, she thought hard for a moment, smiled and said that she feels that it is a miracle that she can go to Israel. She never thought she would ever make the ‘journey’, but then she cried as she remembered the war in the east, the uncertainty, the fear, her little-girl memories of the Holocaust, the 43 years she taught Russian literature until the school was bombed and having to flee for the second time in her life. Then the Jewish Agency called their names, and they received their air tickets. It was time to say good-bye!
She grabbed me by the sleeve, one more time, and said: " Thanks to the Christians in Europe, because we owe it to them that we can leave for Israel!’ During the following days we have had a number of talks with other Jewish refugees. They hope their travel documents will be in order for them to depart on January 22.
Widow Margarita and her only son Michael
As the intensity of the war increased in Donetsk, a local chauffeur brought 10 new Jewish refugees to the shelter. He had to pass through many heavily armed separatist- and Ukrainian army control posts. There is a distance of 230 kilometers between Donetsk and Dnepropetrovsk. On Tuesday, January 13th, twelve people lost their lives when a rocket hit a passenger bus close to a control post (see photograph of bus below). This caused an increase in the number of Jewish refugees, and others, who now wish to, urgently and permanently, depart. By the end of January, more than 100 Jewish refugees will have arrived in Dnepropetrovsk to prepare, in more peaceful surroundings, for their departure to Israel.
Photo of ‘the new Ukraine’ – the bus hit by a rocket, on January 13th, in which 12 people were killed, and many injured.
Newly arrived refugees tell us: "we survived because of the food parcels!" People needed to tell their stories, and were deeply impressed when they heard our reason for doing this work. Amongst them were quite a number of new refugees who were visited, years ago, by Christians who shared with them, from the Bible, that the LORD continues to return His children to His country. Many of them never expected that the day would come, for them, under these circumstances!
Following some discussions, an additional minibus and chauffeur will be employed to assist in transferring Jewish refugees.There are strong suspicions that the war will be spreading to the provinces of Kharkov and Odessa, resulting in more refugees! The costs to flee, accompaniment, preparation and accommodation are very high, and the Jewish Agency in the east has requested us (and the other Aliyah organizations) to foot the bill!
The almost deserted airport in Dnepropetrovsk where new Olim leave for Israel for good.
The things you hear, see and experience is enough to whittle away your courage but, when I read Jeremiah 30 this morning, I was especially touched by verse 10: "So do not be afraid, Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel," declares the LORD. "I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid."
It costs, including shelter (minimum 2 weeks and maximum 2 months, can be longer) and all the necessary preparation until the moment they leave for Israel, € 300,- / $ 350.- per Jewish refugee!
If you would like to contribute, every amount is welcome!
Update 20/01/2015 :
- On the 19th of January 25 olim/immigrants flew from Kiev to Israel.
- More heavy fights broke out in and around Doneck and other small towns in the surrounding area with more
than 30 civilians killed.
- It is more and more dangerous to enter and or to leave the Provinces of Doneck and Luganck.
- Bomb explosions in the cities of Odessa, Kiev and Kharkov
- We received more calls to help and shelter Jewish refugees in our shelter close to Kiev!
Please pray that the Jews still remaining in the East of the Ukraine will flee from there and realize that it is not sensible to stay in the diaspora but to finally "come Home"! Isaiah 62
Heading east, still 631 kilometers to go...
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