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  • The Balabanov family
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Independence Day in Israel

Anna Klechenova - 29 April 2020

Today is a very special date in the life of every Israeli – Independence Day.

Traditionally this day is also the final day of the Great Bible Quiz. This year the 56th World Bible Quiz was dedicated to the theme of “Maintaining Unity and Uniqueness”. There are 72 contestants from 41 countries who speak 17 languages. The 16 finalists will go through the final contest today at 5 pm on national television.

A festive evening liturgy has been held since 1949. It ends with the sounds of the shofar and the prayer: “Thy will be done, so that we have witnessed the beginning of redemption, so will we also merit hearing the shofar, announcing the Messiah”.

Today and yesterday are closely connected in the hearts of each Israeli. On April 28 we honored the memory of more than 23,000 people who died in all the wars Israel had, thanks to whom our country exists. We remembered more than 2500 victims who died in the terror attacks, and security officers who laid down their lives for fellow citizens.

The word “war” is familiar even to some of our new returnees. For example, the Balabanov family. They made Aliyah via “First Home in the Homeland” program in November 2018 from Mariupol (Eastern Ukraine), where the military operations are ongoing.

This rescue would not have been possible without your help. On a cold November morning a Christians for Israel Ukraine field worker drove the Balabanovs and their 9 suitcases of 23 kg each in a white minibus to the airport. Numerous of their relatives made Aliyah years ago, so they were the last ones. 

Photo credit: Jewish Agency for Israel

It was difficult for Dmitry to leave his mother in Mariupol (she made Aliyah later on). The memories of his childhood are carefree and difficult at the same time. His Jewish grandfather was a construction engineer and was highly respected by his colleagues.  “Mom forbade to talk about him at school and specially to say that he was a Jew. Just to be on the safe side”, -Dmitry recalls. Here, in kibbutz Revivim, the Balabanovs found their new home. Dmitry works at the factory, his wife Inna works in the laundry room, and their 4-year-old son is a happy boy who goes to kindergarten and already speaks two languages: Hebrew and Russian.

Even now during quarantine we continue the interviews and enrollment into our program “First Home in the Homeland”. We are waiting and praying that very soon the project will be able to accept a new group of olim to Zion.  Thank you for your support.

For me it is the first Independence Day of Israel in my Homeland. I am happy and proud to share it with you.

Happy Independence Day of Israel!

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