Mikhel Gennadii received Israeli citizenship but was unable to leave Ukraine.
By Pesach Benson, United with Israel
A Ukrainian Jew who obtained Israeli citizenship but was unable to travel to Israel because of the Russian invasion was killed by a landmine on Saturday, Ynet reported on Monday.
The body of Mikhel Gennadii, a 48-year-old captain in the Ukrainian army, will be transferred to Israel for burial with the assistance of Rabbi Hillel Cohen, Chief Rabbi of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Ynet noted.
Gennadii, who was in charge of logistics for his division, was driving with another soldier to check in on several outposts when they ran over a landmine near Kupiansk, an eastern Ukrainian town not far from Kharkiv.
His family, which now lives in Israel, told Ynet that Gennadii’s plans to fly were repeatedly delayed. He was booked to fly to Israel in February but was unable to leave after Russia invaded. Ukrainian nationals of fighting age are barred from leaving Ukraine, and Gennadii had a military background.
“I asked him to come to Israel to our daughter,” his wife Tatiana said. “But he replied he can’t disappoint his comrades. He was very loved in his unit, and I’m waiting for his wounded friend to recover so he could tell me what happened.”
Gennadii’s father, Arkadi, who also lives in Israel said his son “graduated with honors from a military college in 1993, and served in the Ukrainian army until 1997.”
“He was an engineer and an economist expert in military supplies, after he was discharged from the military, he worked in civil jobs. He could do everything, he knew how to drive both a tank and a truck,” the father said.
Arkadi explained that his son’s desire to make aliyah stemmed from an antisemitic incident in 2018. Arkadi said that his home in Cherkasy was set on fire and a swastika painted on a nearby fence.
“When we tried to put out the fire, a group of young men stood over the fence and filmed how our house burning. The police didn’t arrest anyone and dismissed our complaints, so Gennadii said we must leave Ukraine,” said Arkadi.
Mikhel Gennadii’s daughter Anna will soon be joining the IDF.
Israel’s Ministry of Immigration and Absorption expects to receive more than 64,000 olim by the end of December, the highest number in two decades. Of the immigrants who arrived in Israel this year, 47 percent came from Russia and 25% from Ukraine.
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