by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Almost 100 Jewish Ukrainian new immigrants arrived in Israel on Sunday, as Russia stood poised to invade Ukraine in what would be a catastrophic war, the Times of Israel (TOI) reports. Although the new arrivals had been scheduled to immigrate prior to the current Russian threat to Ukraine, the Israeli government stated on Sunday that Ukrainian Jews will always have a home in Israel.
There are around 43,000 Jews in Ukraine, with up to 200,000 Ukrainians eligible to immigrate to Israel under its Law of Return for Jews and their families. Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption said 75 immigrants from Ukraine arrived on an initial flight Sunday, and a further 22 arrived later in the day, TOI reports.
The i24 News agency stated back in January that Israel was reportedly preparing for the possibility of evacuating thousands of Jews from Ukraine in the event of a war with Russia. Representatives from the offices of the prime minister, foreign minister, the defense ministry, diaspora affairs ministry, and the Jewish Agency met last month to discuss such an operation.
“Our message to the Jews of Ukraine is very clear — Israel will always be their home; our gates are open to them during normal times as well as in emergencies,” Immigrant Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata said in a statement Sunday. “Today we are happy to greet dozens of immigrants from Ukraine, and we are prepared to absorb thousands who want to move to Israel… we are waiting with open arms,” she added.
In any event, as the threat of Russian invasion intensified, Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday reiterated its call for all Israelis to leave Ukraine immediately, TOI reports.
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