Last year was a year of intense rescue operations to help the Jewish refugees from Ukraine get to Israel. It was heart wrenching to see the horror reflected in their eyes. Immigration to Israel (aliyah) was at a high level, with over 63,000 Jewish people arriving between September 2021 and September 2022. War creates chaos, death and misery, and the current armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine is showing the world that the horrors of war continue to ravage the innocent.
When Israel released the annual aliyah figures, no one was surprised to see the high numbers from Ukraine. However, even more Jewish people made aliyah from Russia! The Jerusalem Post wrote, “According to Ofek Israeli’s numbers, 32,494 Russian citizens have made aliyah to Israel in 2022 according to Israel’s Law of Return. This compares with 7,800 in 2021. Additionally, 14,450 made aliyah from Ukraine, 3,280 from North America, 1,957 from France and 1,474 from Ethiopia.” These figures are more than 200% higher than 2021.
There are 600,000 Jewish people in Russia, and at present, at least 40,000 of them are preparing to leave. Their reasons are different from those of the Ukrainian Jews. They are concerned about mass call-ups of men into the Russian military. Economically, they are struggling because of sanctions and bank restrictions. Some fear reprisals because they disagree with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the war. In one way or another, they all feel at risk.
Israeli officials are concerned. When I spoke with one of them in October, he told me that there were only two El Al (Israel’s flag carrier) flights a week to Israel from Moscow. Thankfully, flights have now increased. However, many airlines are not flying to Russia or even flying over the country. In the aftermath of a 300,000-man draft into the Russian military, ticket prices soared and flights were sold out as many tried to flee the country to avoid the draft. For a time, ticket prices shot up to thousands of dollars each. Prices have thankfully leveled off since then.
The flight between Russia and Israel is relatively short, only four or five hours. Once immigrants get on the plane, the stress they felt in Russia is alleviated, only to be replaced by the fears of starting over in a new country with sparse personal resources.
Israel is asking her Christian friends for help. The costs of bringing and absorbing another 40,000 Jews in the coming weeks are astronomical. These new immigrants will not be able to bring assets with them. They will have to start over, basically from scratch.
I am speaking out for these Russian Jews. They are in urgent need of help to bring them to safety and start a new life in Israel. Your gifts will help us assist them in a variety of ways according to their needs, including transportation, food, household items and more. Let’s bring the Lord’s people home. This is the time God is calling them back to Israel.
“Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east and gather you from the west; I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not keep them back!’ Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth” (Isa. 43:5–6).
With your gift, we will continue to help Jews from all over the former Soviet Union (including Ukraine and Russia), South America, Ethiopia and India to fulfill their God-given destiny to live in the Land of promise.
Will you partner with us as we join the Lord’s initiative to bring them home? No gift is too big or too small. Each gift is an investment in God’s Kingdom plans. This is our hour!
Blessings from Israel,
Rebecca J. Brimmer
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