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ICEJ sponsors Aliyah flight for 226 Jewish immigrants from FSU

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16 Mar 2021
ICEJ sponsors Aliyah flight for 226 Jewish immigrants from FSU

A group of 226 Jewish immigrants from across the former Soviet Union landed at the re-opened Ben-Gurion Airport on Monday evening (15 March) on a ‘rescue flight’ arranged by The Jewish Agency for Israel and sponsored by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

Many of these new arrivals had been planning to make Aliyah several months ago, but were delayed by a third major lockdown in Israel amid a mass vaccination campaign. Some had already sold their homes and quit their jobs and were left in limbo as Ben-Gurion was completely shut down for the first time ever in January and February. But the skies are now opening back up, and these immigrants are part of the daily quota of passengers who can enter Israel at this time.

Many of these immigrants also needed lengthy connecting flights, traversing up to eight time zones from across the former Soviet republics, before boarding the final four-hour flight to Tel Aviv. They will be required to undergo quarantine and other measures due to corona health regulations in Israel, before settling into absorption centers.

Among the 226 Jews who arrived yesterday on the ‘rescue flight’ sponsored by the ICEJ were  Ksenia and her daughter Emilia. They came all the way from Kazan, the capital of the republic of Tatarstan, and will be settling into Mashabei Sade kibbutz in the Negev desert as part of the “first home in the homeland” program. Ksenia has a master’s degree in land use engineering and hopes to see the Negev bloom.

Ksenia shared that she has always dreamed of making Aliyah but every time she tried, she constantly ran into delays. Last year, amidst the corona pandemic, her mother and younger sister managed to arrive in Israel, which motivated Ksenia to become more determined than ever to make it to Israel as well. After making all the needed preparations, Ksenia and Emilia were scheduled to come in November, but then Ben-Gurion Airport went into lockdown and they were forced to wait once more.

With no hope in sight, they began to be discouraged until they heard the amazing news that a ‘rescue flight’ was scheduled to leave from Moscow on March 15. And yesterday, after much perseverance, Ksenia and her daughter finally reached their new home in Israel.

Even with most international travel still disrupted due to COVID-19, Israel and the Jewish Agency are working to arrange these emergency flights for Jewish immigrants from various regions around the world, which also are bringing back Israeli citizens from abroad.

The Christian Embassy has now supported Aliyah flights for over 780 Jewish immigrants since the start of 2021, including some 500 Ethiopian Jews as part of “Operation Rock of Israel.” Most of these Ethiopian immigrants waited for several decades in transit camps to be reunited with their families in Israel. In making Aliyah, they are answering an ancient biblical call to return to their homeland which has carried down through many generations, and the ICEJ is thrilled to take an active part in this prophetic mission.

“It is exciting to be part of another large flight of Jewish families making the move to Israel,” said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “Supporting Aliyah is one of the core missions of the Christian Embassy, and this season of the corona pandemic has actually been one of the most critical phases of our four decades of involvement in bringing Jewish back to their homeland. Indeed, corona has given added meaning to the calling of Israel to be a ‘safe haven’ for the Jewish people.”


Although global air travel has been severely curtailed over the past year, there are still thousands of Jews making the move to Israel. Interest in Aliyah is actually on the rise, as many Jewish families worldwide now view Israel as safer health-wise and better positioned for economic recovery than other countries. Israeli and Jewish Agency officials anticipate up to 250,000 new Jewish immigrants to arrive over the next three to five years.

One of the greatest promises of God in the Bible is the Ingathering of the Jewish exiles from the four corners of the earth. The prophet Isaiah said long ago: “Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 43:5-6)

Since we were founded in 1980, the ICEJ has assisted more than 160,000 Jewish immigrants to return to Israel from all around the world, and this is a work which is continuing to expand dramatically in 2021. Please help us bring more Jews home to Israel in the days ahead, by supporting the ICEJ’s many Aliyah efforts.

 

 

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