ICEJ Aliyah Donia

Aliyah Support Vital as Numbers Climb

By: Chris Chambers

Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God . . . who brought them back to their land, and left none of them captive any longer. (Ezekiel 39:28)

Since the start of 2022, the total number of Jewish immigrants moving to Israel has already surpassed the annual figures for 2021, with 28,638 Olim (newcomers) arriving in the Land between January and May. The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has been a crucial partner with Israel and the Jewish Agency in supporting this dramatic rise in Aliyah, especially from Ukraine and Ethiopia.

A significant factor in the current surge of Aliyah has been the war in Ukraine. As of May, 10,974 Ukrainian Jews who fled the Russian invasion have immigrated to Israel. An even higher number of Russian Jews have made Aliyah to escape Russia’s economic uncertainty—12,592. Together these figures are already double the number of Jewish immigrants that arrived from Russia and Ukraine in 2021. Over the past six months, the ICEJ has sponsored 949 Ukrainian Olim with Aliyah flights, preflight assistance, rescue services, temporary housing, and other needs.

Recent media reports have raised concerns that there will be a slowdown in Aliyah from Russia. However, the Jewish Agency has clarified that a regular review process is underway, and they expect the upward trend to continue—so there is much work to do.

Ukrainian Aliyah

An Aliyah flight in late June arrived from Poland with 120 Ukrainian immigrants aboard. Among them was 88-year-old Donia Schwartzman, who witnessed the murder of her mother and baby sister at the hands of the Nazis when she was just seven years old. She miraculously escaped certain death in the “shooting pits” and survived, thanks to the kindness of strangers. She eventually built a life for herself; today, Donia is a proud great-grandmother.

In her worst dreams she could not have imagined being driven out of her home again and having to endure another war. Thanks to the courage of her grandson, Igor, and the support of the Jewish Agency, she boarded a medically accompanied flight to Israel and has started her new life. When asked how we might further assist her, Donia replied, “Find me a husband!” Her real wish, however, is that “there be no more war—only peace.”

Ethiopian Aliyah

The ICEJ also recently funded a flight of 160 Ethiopian Jews who arrived in June as part of the Operation Tzur Yisrael (“Rock of Israel”) emergency airlift. One such family making Israel their new home is Tiru (29 years old), her husband Ayinegida (38), and their three children: daughter Bethlehem (9), son Eyasu (4), and little Ermiyas (1).

The family recently expressed their excitement in making Aliyah and how they had waited 10 years in Gondar, Ethiopia, for news of approval to come. They even named their firstborn Bethlehem as an expression of their faith and longing to be reunited with Tiru’s parents, who made Aliyah in 2020, and her grandparents, who came to Israel several years before.

Tiru and her two younger sisters were happy for their parents when they left for Israel two years ago, and they held on to their hope and belief that one day, God would bring them to Israel too. That day finally arrived for the three sisters. Now Tiru and her family can leave behind their harsh life as refugees, where their tiny home had no electricity or running water, and the monthly rent was approximately $50 (Ayinegida earned about $2 for a full day of hard labor). In these circumstances, the only way they could survive was with help from their family already in Israel.

Now safely in the Land, the family plans to work hard and ensure their children’s education. They know their faith in God is justified, and if the miracle of Aliyah can happen, then surely more miracles are in store.

Many more Jewish families need our help to make their way to Israel. What a joy to witness this great prophetic ingathering of the Jewish people as promised in God’s Word—and be a part of it!

Please continue to give generously towards the ICEJ’s Aliyah efforts as we keep reuniting Jewish immigrants with their families here in the land promised to them.