JERUSALEM — Marina and Ruslan lost their son during the war in Mariupol, Ukraine. Now, they are making aliyah (immigrating to Israel), joining their daughter and grandson who made aliyah one month ago. “The only thing that keeps me alive is knowing that I will see them soon,” Marina says.
In the early days of the war they slept in the bathtub because it was in the safest room in the house. Afterwards, when a missile hit near their building, they escaped to a basement apartment in the building next door. After the water supply was cut off, Vladimir, their son, went out to bring water, but he never returned.
“As more days pass and I do not hear from him, I’m afraid the worst has happened.”
Marina and Ruslan will be on flights funded by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) on May 2 and 3. They will celebrate Israel Independence Day, which occurs on May 5, in Israel for the first time. With their arrival, the number of olim (immigrants) arriving in Israel with the help of The Fellowship since last year’s Israel Independence Day is nearly 10,000. The largest number of these came from Ukraine.
Marina is eagerly anticipating their arrival.
“We understood that we cannot live this way,” she says. “The bombs were never-ending; we thought we would all die. We lost everything. I am going to gather my strength so I can get to Israel and start a new life.”
Yael Eckstein, president and CEO of The Fellowship, said,
“We have been supporting aliyah for many years, and we’re proud that we’re still at the forefront of this effort. It is especially important now with the terrible situation in Ukraine. We’ve been focusing on bringing as many Jews to safety in Israel as possible. I’m so grateful that they will be able to celebrate the birth of Israel in the Holy Land.”
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) was founded in 1983 to promote better understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews and build broad support for Israel. Today it is one of the leading forces helping Israel and Jews in need worldwide — and is the largest channel of Christian support for Israel. Founded by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship raised more than $200 million in 2021, mostly from Christians, to assist Israel and the Jewish people. Since its founding, The Fellowship has raised more than $2.6 billion for this work. The organization has offices in Jerusalem, Chicago, Toronto, and Seoul. For more information, visit www.ifcj.org.
Yael Eckstein is the president and CEO of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship). In this role, Eckstein oversees all ministry programs and serves as the organization’s international spokesperson. She can be heard on The Fellowship’s daily radio program airing on 1,300 stations worldwide, on on her podcasts, Nourish Your Biblical Roots and Conversations with Yael. Before her present duties, Yael served as global executive vice president, senior vice president, and director of program development and ministry outreach. Based in Jerusalem, Yael is a published writer, leading international advocate for persecuted religious minorities, and a respected social services professional. As president and CEO of The Fellowship, she also holds the rare distinction of being a woman leading one of America’s largest religious nonprofit organizations.
Website | www.IFCJ.org Facebook | The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews
Sources: The Kairos Company, 250 New Immigrants from Ukraine Will Spend Their First Israel Independence Day in the Holy Land