Some 240 immigrants arrived on an aliyah charter flight from Ukraine to Israel, which welcomed the 3.3 million olim hadashim into the country since the founding of the state.
The flight was sponsored by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), which has been working heavily with the Jewish Agency for Israel throughout the coronavirus pandemic to bring Diaspora Jews to Israel.
The olim were met at the airport by the Aliyah and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata alongside IFCJ president Yael Eckstein, who commemorated Aliyah Week with the newfound Israelis.
“During this Aliyah Week, we are proud to salute both new and veteran olim,” said Tamano-Shata. “As Minister of Aliyah and Absorption, it is my privilege to welcome immigrant number 3.3 million, at this symbolic and essential time for Israeli society as a whole, including olim who make a significant contribution to the advancement and development of the State of Israel.”
The 240 olim arrived on three separate Israir flights, marking a daily record since the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, and joined the dedicated class of 11,000 other new immigrants who moved to Israel amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the olim were Karina and Yevgeny Ushkov. Yevgeny proposed to Karina during a visit to the Western Wall while vacationing with local relatives about a year back.
“It was very moving and very symbolic, I couldn’t stop the tears of excitement,” Karina said. “Yevgeny chose to do it in Israel, and in a place so sacred and important to the Jews – at the Kotel. Of course, I agreed, and at that moment I decided, and Yevgeny of course agreed, that we should make aliyah, establish our home in Israel, and raise our children as sabras.”
The 240 individuals – including 52 children – will be moving to 37 different cities across the country, with 102 heading to the North, 99 within the center and 40 flying south. Haifa will host the largest contingent, with 42 immigrants choosing to live in the city of co-existence.
“This exciting day is a sign of a recovery in the field of aliyah to Israel, and a future leap that we anticipate will begin as early as 2021,” said Eckstein. “The olim are a blessing and a tremendous reinforcement for Israeli society and its economy – and we are proud of the right given to us to help bring them to Israel, with thousands more Jews around the world.”
To date, the IFCJ has donated over NIS 2 billion to bringing new immigrants to Israel. It made its first large contributions to the Jewish Agency in 2014, and even established an independent immigration assistance program that has been responsible for bringing over 25,000 immigrants from more than 30 countries to the Jewish state. The IFCJ estimates it has helped over 750,000 immigrants on their aliyah journey.