Sasha Zlobjn of Kharkiv arrived in Israel with her grandparents on Monday.
By Sharon Wrobel, The Algemeiner
Sasha Zlobjn from the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv became the 10,000th refugee to immigrate to Israel since the start of the Russian invasion last month, Israel’s Immigration and Absorption Ministry announced on Monday.
“I fled from Kharkiv with my grandmother and grandfather, but unfortunately my parents were left behind,” Zlobjn recounted upon arriving at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport. “It was an exhausting journey that ended with this nice reception.”
Zlobjn landed on Monday with his grandparents on a flight from the Moldovan capital Chisinau, along with 90 other immigrants.
Immigration and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata said that “despite the difficult circumstances that brought us the widespread immigration from Ukraine, the State of Israel considers this a time of goodwill and there is a great national and government mobilization for the absorption of immigrants.”
Tamano-Shata said that the absorption of over 10,000 new immigrants — counting war refugees from Ukraine as well as those fleeing repression in Russia and Belarus — in just a month required a “concentrated national effort and round-the-clock work” by the ministry’s employees.
“This is the pace we are expecting in the coming months,” Tamano-Shata said. “It is a privilege for all of us.”
Of the new immigrants who have arrived over the past month, about 3,369 chose to stay in hotel rooms rented for them by the Immigration and Absorption Ministry.
“Every day I meet immigrants at Ben Gurion Airport and the hotels and hear their difficult stories,” Tamano-Shata remarked. “It is a privilege to help them, especially in their hour of need after fleeing the war zones in Ukraine.”
Tamano-Shata said that the ministry will continue to accompany the 10,000 immigrants who have already arrived, as well as the “tens of thousands of immigrants” still expected, during their first weeks in the country and for long-term absorption.
“The most important [thing] is that they feel at home,” she added.
Over the weekend, 224 new immigrants eligible under the Law of Return arrived at Ben Gurion Airport, including 152 from Ukraine and the rest from Russia and Belarus. Another 480 refugees entered the country on tourist visas.
Israel’s refugee entry policy has faced some criticism, with a group of prominent Ukrainian Jews recently issuing a public appeal imploring Israeli authorities to loosen immigration restrictions on those fleeing the Russian invasion.