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A way in the wilderness

Koen Carlier - 25 August 2020

These are turbulent and uncertain times, and this doesn’t make our practical Aliyah work any easier. The Coronavirus is still spreading rapidly with an average of 1,000 new infections per day. Ukraine is constantly looking at Europe to see what decisions they make and seem to be copying what they do. Different measures are being taken but in practice, people cannot see the ‘forest for the trees’! There is confusion everywhere.

Israel is also in a daily fight with an invisible and many visible enemies, however despite this, daily life is normal!

Integration

The return to Israel continues although there are more obstacles and challenges for the future olim (immigrants). People have to wait longer than usual for their immigration request to be approved, only two of the Israeli consulates are open instead of five. Once someone gets the green light, the Jewish Agency decides on which evacuation flight they can go to Israel and upon arrival, the olim have to stay in quarantine for two weeks. After that, the integration programme (Aliyah programme) starts and once this is completed, the biggest challenge will be to find a job during this difficult economic time.

Most olim who leave at this moment follow an Aliyah programme, like 19-year-old Igor, whose mother is a chef at the Jewish school. Or like Dima, who is 34-years old. At the age of 20, he suddenly lost his hearing, but graduated from university and worked in IT in Kiev.

However, when the quarantine began, he moved back in with his parents and finally decided to make Aliyah. By mid-July, we were able to assist Igor and Dima, with transportation to the airport together with 30 other olim. Six of them stayed in our shelter for the night, because they lived ten hours from the airport in Kiev.

’Fear Not’

In the photos, you may see smiling people but in reality, everyone is scared because of the Coronavirus and there are many questions and uncertainties. However, in this case, it is important to read Isaiah 43 verse 5 where it says do not fear because I bring you from the North and the rest of the world.

Another special moment I want to share with you is the time we brought emergency food parcels to 50 young families and had a meeting with them. During that meeting, we had a Zoom session with the deputy mayor of Carmiel in Israel, who answered questions of the participants. Her viewpoint was that despite the challenges and obstacles of Coronavirus, it cannot be an excuse to delay the return from the diaspora. Carmiel is constantly building new apartments to welcome newcomers and the deputy mayor expressed her hope that many olim will settle there!

Return During the Coronavirus Panedemic

In the Bible, we read that the prophets speak about the return of the Jewish people time and again. In our generation, in a way, we can see the sea split and the Jewish people are allowed to return safely. As it is written in Isaiah 43:19 a way is being made in the wilderness.

In July about 500 olim made Aliyah from Ukraine and Russia. Your prayers and contributions to help the olim prepare for their Aliyah really make a difference!

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.” Isaiah 43:5

 

Would you like to support Koen Carlier and his team in Ukraine? We would like to ask you to pray for Koen, his family, the team and the olim who have decided to come to Israel. But we also like to ask you if you would consider to support our work financially. It costs 135 euros or 165 US $ to assist one Ukrainian Jew for making Aliyah.

Any amount is welcome!

 

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