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Biblical understanding about Israel
Text: Richard Donk | images: Henk Visscher
Sourced with permission from Reformatorisch Dagblad.
Koen Carlier has lived in Ukraine for the past eighteen years. Due to the current civil war in the east, the country changed drastically. Koen Carlier, who has worked for Christians for Israel since 1996, assists Ukrainian Jews in emigrating to Israel. On the one hand he reminds them of God’s Biblical promise to return His people back to the Promised Land. And, on the other hand, Koen and his team assist them with practical matters that include visits to the consulate and transport to the airport.
Due to the violence in East-Ukraine the number of Jews who wish to leave for Israel greatly increased, states Carlier. “The war had an enormous impact. We now have seven buses, fifteen staff members and a hiding place for refugees. Though I knew we were heading for difficult times, I never expect a war.”
Carlier views the exodus of the Jews as being obedient to the Biblical calling to “flee from the land of the North”. “In the beginning of the 90’s, after the fall of the Soviet Union, we saw a large flow of migrants. Thereafter, it remained fairly stable. But in 2014 alone, 7,000 people departed. And that number will be higher for 2015.”
The Jewish emigrants fall into two categories, says Carlier. “There are those who lost everything in the war, and they want to leave for Israel as soon as possible. And there are Jews who have been contemplating making aliyah over a longer period of time. We endeavor to persuade them to take this step in accordance with the Word of God.
Koen Carlier firmly believes in the restoration of Israel and the Jewish people. “It is an important sign of God’s faithfulness. In Jeremiah 31 it is so clearly. And in Ezekiel 36 you see a kind of ‘roadmap’ for the return of the Jewish people to the land. Although it will not always coincide with spiritual restoration. However, once the people settle in Israel, start celebrating the feasts and visiting the synagogue, you see a gradual rediscovery of their religious identity.”
Do the Jews expect help from the Christians? “Our name is our message: Christians for Israel. We wish to comfort the Jewish people. We cannot erase history, by any means. There were attempts to do so, in a forceful manner, over a period of many years. But we have to build bridges, share our motivation and show them that we serve the same God.”
Have you ever thought of leaving Ukraine because of the war? “We will continue for now. The period prior to the war was also very tense. But right now we have to be there for the Jews. Running away is senseless. We will leave once all the Jews are gone.”
Providing transportation to the Israeli Embassy and airports.
More and more people want to prepare their documents in order to be ready to leave Ukraine and go to Israel. Because of the long distances that people have to travel to reach the embassy in their district, Christians for Israel facilitates their transportation by our own transport or renting small and big busses to drive groups from that area to the Israeli embassy and airports in their region.
These families will participate in the aliyah program 'First Home in the Homeland' for the next five months. They will focus on learning Hebrew and integrate into the Israeli society!
We will follow these families and update you how on they are doing by publishing a new report by the end of March 2016!
Please continue supporting the Aliyah work!
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Koen Carlier - Aliyah Fieldworker Christians for Israel in Ukraine (Photo credit: Henk Visscher)
Every week groups of olim (emigrants) leave for Israel from several airports in Ukraine