Ukrainian refugees arrive in Israel, March 2022. (Shalev Shalom/TPS) (Shalev Shalom/TPS)
Rescue flight from Ukraine lands in Israel

The Diaspora Ministry estimates that there are about 150,000 Ukrainians eligible for Israeli citizenship through the Law of Return.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

Katya Kirflock, the 5,000th Olah (new immigrant) who came to Israel from Ukraine since Russia’s invasion of the country about a month ago, arrived at Ben Gurion Airport on Wednesday evening on a Jewish Agency rescue flight coming from Budapest, Hungary.

Kirflock, a 29-year-old doctor, fled Kyiv with her son, 20-month-old Stas. Katya’s husband, mother and brother, stayed behind in Ukraine.

The Jewish Agency Immigration Center in Budapest, Hungary, is one of 18 immigration centers operated by the Jewish Agency in countries neighboring Ukraine, where the immigrants stay until they immigrate to Israel.

Katya shared that her dream is to integrate into the Israeli health system and to learn Hebrew and the culture of the country.

“I fear for the fate of my family in Ukraine, but I know I am returning home so I feel safe and happy,” she said upon arriving in Israel.

Chairman of the World Zionist Organization and the acting chairman of the Jewish Agency, Yaakov Haguel, who returned the flight with Katya after a visit to the Hungarian-Ukrainian border said that the Jewish Agency “continues to fulfill its mission to save Jews from anywhere in the world. The blessing in this operation is twofold – we are both saving thousands of Jews, and bringing them to Israel to start a new life here.”

On the last day, 507 new immigrants from Ukraine landed in Israel, and another 400 Olim are expected to land in Israel on Thursday.

About 15,000 citizens from Ukraine have come to Israel since Russia invaded the country, of whom about 5,000 are entitled to Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return.

The Diaspora Ministry estimates that there are about 150,000 Ukrainians eligible for Israeli citizenship through the Law of Return.

Furthermore, it is estimated that about 100,000 Russian-speaking immigrants will arrive in Israel in the near future.