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Israel & Christians Today

Biblical understanding about Israel

June 9, 2015

Unrest in Ukraine: interview with aliyah worker Koen Carlier

Unrest in eastern Ukraine is increasing, says fellow worker Koen Carlier in the Eastern European country. But despite the difficulties, he and his team continue unabatedly with their mission aimed at helping the Jews to emigrate to their homeland, Israel.

Koen, what can you tell us about developments during the past weeks? 

“Not long ago a large gathering was organized in the eastern city of Zaporozhe, where the Ukrainian Consular Chief explained and expounded on the making of Aliyah (Jews immigrating to Israel, Ed.) Of the more than 220 Jews present, many were refugees. It was organized by Aliyah Alliance, a division of which Christians for Israel in Ukraine is part of.

The headconsul for the Ukraine speaks to a group of potential olim in the East of Ukraine

This lasted almost three hours, of which more than one hour was spent on answering the many questions. A documentary about the genesis of Israel, that included appropriate Bible verses, was shown. Afterwards long queues were formed by the many people who still had many questions. The consuls were surprised by the large attendance and number of questions. Similar evenings are now planned for other cities in the eastern, central and western parts of the country. There is, apparently, a definite need for such evenings!

After the meeting many had lots of questions

The local Jewish community managed to hire a lovely location at a good price. But we are saddened by a number of refugees who chose to return to their homes in Donetsk and Lugansk once things appeared to be more peaceful. The violence increased during the past days and on both sides more than 100 soldiers and civilians were killed."

You’ve also been to Odessa. What did you see and hear there? 

“Quite right; we visited the Jewish Agency in Odessa during the past week. There we met a large group of olim (Jews emigrating to Israel, Ed.) who will be leaving soon. And we met a large group of young people, from the age of 13 upwards, who will be leaving for Israel permanently. There they will be able to study, courtesy of an Aliyah program and free of charge, for three years! It is not easy for the parents to let their children go, but they appreciate the fact that Israel gives their children this opportunity.

Young Jewish kids in Odessa soon will leave for good to Israel

This little girl cant speak and we do pray and hope this family will leave for Israel

In Odessa we also met a group of Jews who fled to Odessa from the east one year ago. They intended to stay in Odessa temporarily and later return to the east. But most of them now realize that the chances are diminishing daily, and so they have decided to leave for Israel. Christians for Israel also contributed in order for refugees from Odessa to be assisted via Tikva, where Michael Brodman (grandson of the Dutch-Israeli rabbi David Brodman, Ed.) works. On our way back, we visited a few Jewish families in the small village of Berschad.”

Olim in Odessa soon will leave for good to Israel

More olim in Odessa soon will leave for good to Israel

What are your plans for the coming week? 

“On Wednesday and Thursday next week we will be transporting ten olim from Mariupol, a city in south-eastern Ukraine near the Russian border, to the airport in Dnepropetrovsk. Before, and after, we will make intermediate stops in Zaporozhe and Dnepropetrovsk, where we will evaluate the overall situation of the local Jewish refugees. Heavy fighting is taking place in the vicinity of Mariupol, and the question remains whether the separatists are planning on occupying Mariupol as well. This is a portal city; a polluted industrial city with more than 500,000 inhabitants, of which approximately five to seven thousand are Jewish.

Visiting elderly Jews in Berschad

We have been hiring buses regularly, since January 2015, to transport people to the consulate in Dnepropetrovsk. This works like a charm and the info quickly spreads amongst the Jewish community: organized, free transport to the consulate! It is, after all, a trip of between 7 and 8 hours. The bus transports the potential olim to the shelter, where refugees also spend the night, one day in advance. The following day they have an interview at the consulate, where after they return to Mariupol in the late afternoon.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday our chauffeur, Igor, will drive 18 Jews from Vinnitsa and Khmelnitsky to the embassy and airport. My colleague Nataliya, and her assistants in Kiev, are presently assisting approximately 35 Jewish refugees, who are preparing for Aliyah, with their documentation and transport.

Jewish refugees from the East of Ukraine will soon leave for good to Israel

Only today we received more requests from Jews, in eastern Ukraine, who wish to come to our ‘hiding place’ in Kiev, in preparation to make Aliyah. The five refugees, who presently live there, will be making Aliyah to Israel soon.”

How do you perceive the Ukraine’s near future? 

“It continues to be tense and we are uncertain what to expect. Our main task remains the practical assistance with free transport to the embassy and airport! One thing is certain: the Lord will complete His plans! I give you these Bible verses to encourage you: Jeremiah 23:3, Psalm 107:1-3 and Isaiah 51:11.”

Not always easy to drive on the bumpy roads

On the road driving through villages

Support our work in Ukraine

Please support aliyah for Jewish refugees from the East of Ukraine to Israel. (any amount is welcome).

Christians for Israel has set up a special fund to help Jewish people to prepare themselves to make aliyah (emigrate to Israel). 

With your donation (any amount is welcome) we will:
Provide transportation to the Israeli Embassy and airports. More and more people want to prepare their documents in order to be ready to leave the Ukraine and go to Israel. Because of the long distances that people have to travel to reach the embassy in their district, Christians for Israel will facilitate their transportation by renting small and big busses to drive groups from the same area to the Israeli embassy in their region. Once they get green light and all is ready we drive them to the airport for their one way flight to Israel. The average cost of 1 person is € 135 / US $ 150

Provide shelter/accommodation for Jewish refugees.
Refugees stay between 2 up to 6 weeks in different 'shelters' all over the Ukraine. Christian aliyah organisations pays for their accommodation until the moment they will make aliyah. The average costs to accommodate 1 refugee between 2 and 6 weeks is € 300 / US $ 325

Pay for travel documents.
There are many poor families/elderly people and refugees. For those people that do not have money to pay for their paperwork and passport we will pay the costs of issuing these documents. They need these official documents in order to receive their visa for Israel. Total average amount per person: € 200 / US $ 225.

Supply food parcels.
We pack and distribute thousands of foodparcels for poor Jewish families and refugees all over the Ukraine. This is really a great help especially in these uncertain times. One food parcel cost € 10 / US $ 12

Train more 'fishermen' for our Aliyah team.
We would like to train more people to visit Jews in remote places and help them if necessary. 

Organize Aliyah Seminars.
We plan to have 19 one-day seminars together with the Jewish Agency. These seminars are always very effective, and people can get all the information they need about making Aliyah. The first seminar will take place in April and the last one in October. 

Koen Carlier, Nataliya Krizhanovski and chauffeurs at the mini-buses. 






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