(JTA) – The Jewish Agency for Israel started a hotline for Ukrainian Jews wishing to move to Israel.
The hotline streamlines the immigration process, a senior Jewish Agency official told JTA. It was opened earlier this month in the wake of unrest following the Ukrainian revolution in February.
Immigration from Israel to Ukraine has nearly tripled in March as compared to last year, and is up 142 percent from January to April, according to the Jewish Agency.
Ukraine’s eastern region has seen fighting and civil unrest in the months since a provisional government was installed in Kiev.
Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky told JTA that although there are no plans as of yet for a mass evacuation of Jews in the region, the situation has put the Jewish community there in a precarious position.
“In [eastern] Ukraine there is a vacuum of power, and where there is a vacuum of power there is anti-Semitism,” Sharansky said. “Jews at any moment can be the victims. That’s why we have to be ready to act at any moment.”