• Food parcel for people who live in deep poverty. Photos: C4I
SOS Ukraine

Update from Ukraine: Requests from Israel

Koen Carlier - 30 August 2022

We continue to bring Jewish refugees to Moldova, from where they leave for Israel. We also have a driver with a van permanently stationed in Western Ukraine to help Jewish refugees to the Polish border in cooperation with The Jewish Agency. We have five different phone numbers where requests for help are noted. What is new, is that we also receive regular requests from Israel to help family members who live in remote villages or towns in Ukraine.


In cases like that it’s a matter of planning all logistics and having our evacuation vans on the road.

One of the many refugees was Tsylik Edison, a Holocaust survivor from Dnepr (Eastern Ukraine). During World War II, the mother of Tsylik, who was small at the time, fled from Kiev to Dnepr when the city was bombed. They thought they would be safe there, but a local person threatened to betray them to the Nazis unless she handed over everything that was precious or had any value.

She gave everything of any value she had, but didn’t trust the situation and fled with her only son in the middle of the night to a village where they could take shelter. Her husband, who served as a soldier in the Red Army, got killed. Her father’s sister was also fleeing with two small children but faced bombings. She died while protecting her two children with her body. The children survived and grew up being orphans. After the war, they had a hard time surviving. When Tzylik got older, he had only one desire: going to Israel together with his mother. This was during the communist era: leaving the USSR was practically impossible.

Chaya (daughter of Koen) listens breathlessly to the story of Tsylik Edison


Eventually, his mother became too weak, old and blind. She died in 2004 at an advanced age. The desire to leave for Israel on his own ebbed away until the moment the war erupted on 24 February. When rockets also fell on Dnepr, Tsylik was ‘woken up’. He knew that he had to leave immediately. Once he had his international passport, everything went quickly. After a short stay in our shelter in Western Ukraine, we brought him – together with others – to Kishenov, the capital of Moldova. He told us his moving life story during the trip. One of these days, Tzylik will leave for Israel for good, with about fifty more Jewish refugees. He has no relatives in Israel.

Gilda and her husband were supposed to come to Israel in the autumn of 2022, but the war accelerated everything. Gilda’s daughter has been living in Israel for several years and she phoned her mother every day, begging her to come as soon as possible. “You already have your international passport, so please, get out and leave now!” Last week, we brought Gilda and her husband to Moldova.

Gilda and her husband Ivan (in the back of the van) on their way to Israel


This week, we delivered 1,050 emergency food parcels (11,000 kg) – intended for Jewish elderly and refugees mainly from Kherson – to Odessa. All packages were stored in the large synagogue. I never imagined that this building would partly be a storage area for emergency food parcels. In each food parcel there is a brochure with our information. We had discussions with several Jewish leaders, and everyone shared the same concerns: “How are we going to survive the winter?” Unfortunately, we don’t have an answer either. However, we are going to prepare ourselves the best we can. We expect a great number of Jewish refugees when the winter arrives and there will be no gas (heating) available because of all the damaged pipelines.

Photos of our food parcel delivery. Click on the photo to enlarge.


We also receive requests to help Jewish families who want to leave Kherson, a city now occupied by the Russians. We are looking at the possibilities to help them. In recent weeks, our staff member Nataliya and one of our drivers visited more than two hundred Jewish families in villages and towns in the Kiev province that had been occupied by the Russians for almost two months. They supplied them with emergency food parcels. Many were grateful for the visit, the food parcel and the information we gave them: we told them how to emigrate Israel.

Meanwhile, the bombing continues, both from the Russian and Ukrainian armies. The fighting is now mainly concentrated around the province of Kherson (in the south of Ukraine and bordering Crimea) to liberate it from Russian occupation. We just received the sad news that a person from Eastern Ukraine, who wanted to make Aliyah and was going to be brought to our shelter next week, has died after rocket attacks in his town. Sad news like this reaches us daily. At the same time, there is much reason for great gratitude. We are grateful that we were able to bring so many people to safety in recent months, and we will continue to do so. We are also grateful for the staff, drivers, and many faithful volunteers, who have carried out lifesaving work under difficult circumstances. ‘Comfort My People on the run from the north’: we will continue to do so full of motivation.

“Hear the word of the LORD, you nations;
proclaim it in distant coastlands:
‘He who scattered Israel will gather them
and will watch over His flock like a shepherd.’”

Jeremiah 31:10


Emergency Assistance
Jewish refugees are brought from our shelter in Ukraine to Moldova. Buses then bring them to airports in either Moldova or Romania. From there, they are brought to Israel. The expense of such a bus trip is € 4000 or $4400. This is about € 100 or $110 per person. Would you like to assist one or more Jewish refugees with their evacuation and emigration to Israel? Or do you want to sponsor a whole bus? Please support our emergency campaign. Your support is of vital importance. Thank you in advance!


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