By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
March 10, 2022 — Jerusalem, Israel … The Jewish Agency for Israel has begun emergency operations to rescue Jews from the war in Ukraine.
Three flights of Jewish Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Israel carrying 150 Jews from Poland and 100 from Romania . Returning to Israel with the new olim (immigrants) is Acting Chair of The Jewish Agency Yaakov Hagoel and President and CEO of The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) Eric Fingerhut.
The Jewish Agency continues to have ongoing humanitarian and rescue operations in four countries neighboring Ukraine: Poland, Moldova, Romania and Hungary.
As of today, March 10, The Jewish Agency will significantly increase its operations inside Ukraine to maximize the ability to save Jewish lives, Hagoel said on Wednesday during a visit to the region.
A total of 320 Olim from Ukraine landed in Israel on March 6 on two flights from Moldova and Poland. This was in addition to a separate flight that brought around 100 orphans on a flight from Romania. These new immigrants (Olim) are staying in hotels across Israel for about a month, coordinated by the Israeli Ministry of Aliyah and Integration. Afterwards, the Ukrainian immigrants will be transferred to their permanent residences, located in communities throughout Israel.
The Jewish Agency has initiated a humanitarian aid operation called ‘Torenu’ (Our Turn), which is being organized together with the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel. The humanitarian operation is collecting basic necessities from the Israeli public and transferring them to Jewish Agency centers active along the Ukrainian border. These items mainly consist of winter equipment like tents, sleeping bags, blankets, coats, gloves, hats and scarves and hygienic items like soap, shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper and toothpaste.
The Jewish Agency’s Director General and CEO Amira Ahronoviz arrived in the region on March 6 to closely monitor the large-scale Jewish Agency emergency operations and also meet with heads of Jewish communities. Ahronoviz is accompanied by The Jewish Agency’s Regional Director for the Former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and Germany Roman Polonsky.
The Jewish Agency has raised more than $19 million since the beginning of the war to support humanitarian and rescue operations along the Ukrainian border. Over $11 million coming from its partners at JFNA and Keren Hayesod. The current needs of this operation stand at over $85 million.
Over 2,000 Jews have so far arrived at Aliyah (immigration to Israel) processing centers run by The Jewish Agency and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) that are located in countries bordering Ukraine. The future immigrants (Olim) are escorted from the border to temporary housing facilities where they receive their visas to Israel.
More than 4,130 beds were rented in hotels and other facilities in neighboring countries along the border to accommodate the thousands of Jews seeking to make Aliyah. Meanwhile, The Jewish Agency is also involved in working alongside local organizations to secure additional lodging for these refugees. Currently, 1,800 beds – including at a facility inside Ukraine on the outskirts of Lviv – are occupied by refugees waiting to move to Israel.
Over 16,000 telephone calls have been received at the special hotline established together with the IFCJ, 6,600 of which were from Jews seeking to move to Israel (Aliyah) as soon as possible. Other calls came from concerned relatives in Israel, seeking guidance on how they could help their loved ones in Ukraine. Call centers also direct refugees within Ukraine and inform them how they can receive rescue services from The Jewish Agency, IFCJ and other local organizations.
Since 1929, The Jewish Agency for Israel has been working to secure a vibrant Jewish future. It was instrumental in founding and building the State of Israel and continues to serve as the main link between the Jewish state and Jewish communities everywhere.