Despite travel bans, nine Jewish immigrants from Ukraine arrive in Israel

April 27, 2020 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Skies have shut down around the world and global travel bans were imposed by governments due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but Aliyah to Israel is continuing as another nine Jewish Olim (immigrants) from Ukraine arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport early on Monday morning on a flight arranged by the Jewish Agency for Israel and sponsored by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ).

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky with a recent immigrant from St. Petersburg, Russia, and her two daughters at a Jewish Agency recreation activity for children from southern Israel at the Tisch Family Zoological Gardens (the Biblical Zoo) in Jerusalem. Photo by Nathan Roi for The Jewish Agency for Israel.

The immigrant families will join another 36 newly arrived Russian-speaking Jews for a two-week quarantine period in a hotel, under special arrangements with the Government of Israel and the Jewish Agency.

Aliyah (immigration to Israel) continued in the past weeks with 961 immigrants arriving in Israel in March.

Although flights have been grounded nearly everywhere over recent months, the ICEJ has worked in cooperation with the Jewish Agency to bring 580 new Jewish immigrants on Aliyah to Israel since February. This has included 465 Russian-speaking Jews arriving from various regions of the former Soviet republics, as well as 115 Ethiopian Jews making the journey home from Addis Ababa.

Over 100 of these newcomers immediately went into two-week quarantines as per the guidelines of the Israeli Ministry of Health due to the COVID-19 threat.

Meanwhile, a flight from St. Petersburg with 26 Russian Jewish Olim on March 22 marked the 30th anniversary of the ICEJ’s sponsorship of Jewish aliyah from the former Soviet Union.

“Amid all the bad news spawned by the Coronavirus, some of the best news out there is that Jews are still finding their way to Israel”, said ICEJ President Dr Jürgen Bühler. “We are thrilled to be a part of this unique chapter in the modern-day Ingathering of the Jewish people, that even when a pandemic brought the world to a standstill it could not stop the Jews from coming home to Israel.”

Israel has welcomed more than 255,000 Olim from 150 different countries in the past decade.

Since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, 3.3 million people have made Aliyah, making up 42 per cent of the total population.

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