Despite all the travel bans due to the Coronavirus, Israel is still welcoming new immigrants. Another group of 45 Russian-speaking Jewish immigrants made Aliyah last week, just in time for the nation’s Independence Day celebrations. The ICEJ sponsored some of the flights for this group and helped to cover extra costs made necessary by the Coronavirus health rules.
For Jews coming from the former Soviet republics, the added expenses at present include both a pre-flight quarantine period and then a two-week post-flight quarantine in a hotel before finally being able to enter an absorption center. These added health precautions have made the actual move to Israel more expensive than the normal Aliyah process. But many Jews in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and other FSU republics are moving up their Aliyah plans to come to Israel now. So, we are grateful to be in a position, thanks to the support of so many Christians, to help them come home to Israel now, even in the midst of this pandemic!
Most of the Jews we have assisted in making Aliyah over recent weeks are from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, where the Coronavirus threat is just starting to peak. Many were going to make Aliyah this summer but they decided to move up their plans to come home to Israel now. They have concluded they will be immediately safer in Israel. There are very few flights out of these countries right now, meaning fewer people in the airports and less risk of catching the virus in route. In addition, the economies of these countries are tanking due to conflicts and the steep drop in oil prices, and they simply want to start over in Israel as soon as possible.
Here are photos of some of the newly-arrived Jewish families we helped as they celebrate their first Yom Hatzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day) in their new land, even while in quarantine.
The ICEJ has now assisted 580 Jewish immigrants to make Aliyah to Israel since travels bans were first imposed in February. Israeli officials are anticipating a large wave of Jewish Aliyah from many directions in coming months, as Corona travel and health restrictions begin to ease worldwide. We need to be ready to help these Jewish people come home.
This article originally appeared on ICEJ, May 5, 2020, and reposted with permission.