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Heartbreaking farewell – Update from our Aliyah fieldworker Koen Carlier

editor - 9 May 2016

Busy, busy, busy. This is how you can define the work of Aliyah fieldworker Koen Carlier. He barely sits still. Whether it is purchasing the food for food parcels and arranging their distribution throughout Ukraine; or driving thousands of kilometers to the east of Ukraine to bring refugees to temporary shelters; or answering dozens of requests for rides to the Israeli embassy or the airport. In recent years, the work of one individual became a full-fledged department in Ukraine with a wonderful and dedicated team.

And yet the work remains exactly the same. Koen and his team visit people at their home, arrange their transport to the embassy and bring people to the airport for their final departure to Israel.

The Didkovski family
Recently, Koen went to the Didkovski family. “I arrived at their home on a Monday afternoon, I had just returned from a trip to the east of Ukraine. We were there to pick up this family and to my surprise there were many friends and relatives in and around the house. After the luggage was loaded into our van I explained to everyone that God is bringing His people back to the land of Israel and that we see this happening in our days. Then came the toughest part of the trip: the farewell. Saying goodbye to one’s family and friends is heartbreaking, especially for the elderly.”

Holocaust Testimony
Koen continues his update: “In the shelter we had a pleasant get together with the people who will leave for Israel the following morning. One of them, Elizaveta, shared her story with us. As a small child she was betrayed during the Holocaust and sent to the ghetto in the village of Pechora. There she spent three terrible years with her mother. Over the years, I often heard testimonies of the elderly about the Holocaust in Ukraine, but every time I shudder. That enormous suffering, which is still alive today.”

 
 In the shelter in Kiev

A good start
“In the quiet early morning we drive to the airport. Elizaveta will go to her daughter who lives in Ashdod. The Didkovski family is on their way to a kibbutz that is part of the integration program ‘First Home in the Homeland’. With this program the Didkovski family has every chance to build a good life in Israel.”

 
 The Didkovski family ready to leave and start a new life in their new Homeland Israel

 

The youngest olim since the beginning of the war
One last thing Koen shares with us: “Jus recently we helped the youngest person since the day our shelter began functioning, cute little Kira Kats. She was just 2 months old at the time. Her parents – Sasha and Katia are a young couple from Alchevsk in the Lugansk region and they came to the shelter at the request of the Jewish Agency. The family suffered being pregnant while living in the zone of military operations, and they were forced to go to Russia in order to give birth to their child. Then they spent their last savings to get back to Ukraine. In our shelter we did our best to provide them with the necessary care before we brought them to the airport. They are now in Israel!”

 The Kats family with 2 month old Kira

More and more people want to prepare their documents in order to be ready to leave the Ukraine and go to Israel. Because of the long distances that people have to travel to reach the embassy in their district, Christians for Israel will facilitate their transportation by renting small and big busses to drive groups from the same area to the Israeli embassy in their region and later on to the airport for a ‘one way’ flight to Israel.

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