Around 250 new immigrants (olim) from Ukraine landed in Israel on Monday on a flight organized by International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. The flight was the sixth aliyah flight of the Fellowship since the beginning of the year.
Fifteen of the olim are moving to Israel’s Negev region and five to the Gaza periphery, a region that has dealt with renewed rocket attacks from Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
“The Fellowship’s first concern is to secure Jews from the threats and dangers of antisemitism, which is why we’re bringing them to Israel,” said the organization’s president, Yael Eckstein. “At the same time, we leave it up to the olim to decide for themselves where to settle in Israel. It is inspiring to us all that the passion and Zionism is so intense among some of them that they insist on moving to the Gaza periphery, and feel fully confident and excited to do so.”
Vladimir Levin and his wife are following in the path of their son and settling in Kibbutz Tze’elim, located in the Eshkol Regional Council, which borders the Gaza Strip. Levin said that like his son, he is not deterred from living there.
Yelena Tackshenko and her family moved to Kibbutz Ein HaShlosha, also located in the Eshkol Regional Council, though much closer to Gaza. Ein HaShlosha absorbed the largest number of rockets during “Operation Pillar of Defense” in 2012. The kibbutz received the second-largest number of mortar shells during “Operation Protective Edge” in 2014.
Despite the ongoing security threats in the region, 25-year-old Daniel Popov said, “I am not afraid of the situation. My friends have served in the army for four years and told me of their experiences. I know that the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] is strong, and I am happy to be here!”
The new arrivals come from a variety of localities in Ukraine, including Odessa, Kiev and Zaporizhia. They range as young as eight months to 82 years old. About 22 percent of the olim are settling in the coastal cities of Haifa and Netanya.