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During January and February 2016, we were accompanied by a number of aliyah field workers as we visited Eastern Ukraine on three different occasions in order to attend a variety of events and discussions. The results were very favourable!
As always, it was not easy to drive the many thousands of kilometres on snow covered, icy roads. It is always risky! An appeal on radio and television even urged people to stay at home and not to set out.
Towards the end of January 2016 we organized a day on which the Chief Consular Representative of Kiev and the Consular Representative of Dnepropetrovsk addressed one hundred and fifty potential olim. This speech was followed by an aliyah seminar, organized by the Jewish Agency for Israel.
The day was dreadfully cold, with temperatures below -26 degrees centigrade! The Jews were extremely thankful that we organized the meeting and it resulted in many appointments for interviews with the Consular Representative of Dnepropetrovsk! Next we had another discussion with a Jewish aid organization that signed up four hundred Jewish families who escaped from the east. We will have the opportunity to address them in March 2016 about returning to Israel, and learn about their worries that holds them back from making aliyah!
“Pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones. Raise a banner for the nations.” Isaiah 62:10
Dnepropetrovsk and Zaporozhe
Our next destination was Dnepropetrovsk, followed by Zaporozhe. The highway resembled an ice rink! The advantage was that there was hardly any traffic, so we were able to make use of the whole width of the road.
At the shelter we talked to and encouraged many olim who will be leaving soon. Amongst them is the Saienko family, who fled from the village of Zaichenko many months ago. They have absolutely nothing, and we have been following them for almost a year, assisting them with their travel documents, food parcels and second hand winter clothes and shoes. On January 28, they eventually departed! The Saienko family was able to leave for Israel after almost a year! They could barely believe that it finally was time to go!
Presently the Saienko family has been in Kiryat Motskin, in Israel, for more than a month. The mother, Oksana, has found employment, her daughter Yuliia has a part time job, and her youngest daughter is happy at school. Her husband is undergoing medical examinations, because of his previous occupation in a polluted steelworks factory in Eastern Ukraine!
The second journey to the east was primarily to ease discussions for extending the contract for the two shelters until the end of the year, to house Jewish refugees. We strongly suspect that the war in Eastern Ukraine can break out anew any moment. Therefore we must be prepared to adequately shelter all Jews!
We also had discussions with our chauffeur in the east. We would like to have an extra minibus and chauffeur in the province of Lugansk. This person will be able to drive the Jews via Donetsk to the shelter in Dnepropetrovsk.
Consular day in Melitopol
The third trip was due to another Consular day in the South-east city of Melitopol. Here two Consular Representatives also addressed the potential two hundred olim, who were brought with minibuses from Mariupol, Berdyansk, Tomak and Zaporozhe. In February 2015, the bus of the last Jewish families from Volnavakha, was hit by a mortar-shell. In this incident many people were killed and gravely injured.
The Jews thought it extraordinary that the two Consular Representatives came to address them in particular. In March next we will transport them by bus to the consulate in Dnepropetrovsk for an interview!
Much is happening, but much can also be done thanks to the large number of motivated co-workers! We believe the most important aspect of our task is to inform the Jews about the return, and in providing practical assistance as it is written in the Bible, for example in Isaiah 62:10.
When in mid-February winter appeared to be a thing of the past, we received a brand-new load of fresh snow! Our shelter in Kiev is becoming progressively more popular amongst the Jewish refugees who want to stay there to prepare for their return! Though the future remains uncertain, we continue because of His blessings!
Please support our action ‘Bring the Jews Home’. It costs 135 euros to assist one Ukrainian Jew with transport to the necessary institutions to obtain the required documentation for making aliyah. Any amount is welcome!
Greetings from the Ukraine
Koen Carlier - Aliyah Fieldworker Christians for Israel
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Watch the photos below.
Consular day Kharkov
Potential olim at the consular day Kharkov
Consular day Kharkov
Vika (left) fleeing with her parents (Holocaust survivors) from Luganck talking to aliyah field worker Nataliya Kryzhanovski
Consuls in the middle
Fled for the acts of war, now safely in Israel
How deep is the snow?
Army trucks on their way to Eastern Ukraine
Look at the number plate!
A rural Ukrainian food shop