• Hundreds of Jewish refugees are evacuated from Ukraine to Romania. Photo: C4I
SOS Ukraine

Update Ukraine: We Don’t Leave Anyone Behind

Sara van Oordt - 9 March 2022

Though our night’s rest was very short, when we got up in the morning, we felt good. We were expecting a group of 110 Jewish men, women and children coming from Vinnitsa. It seemed like an easy job. The idea was that we would drive them to Bucharest which is a very long journey, but we were prepared and ready to go. That was the plan. Alas, everything was different again.

The first part of the expected group had a smooth arrival. I met with a woman my age from Kharkov, Ira and her son David (5). She entered the Moldovan side of the border with her son, and the first thing she said: “I cannot imagine there are no bombs falling here. Are we really safe? Kharkov was hell; it was simply hell”.

Ira from Kharkov. | Photo: C4I

Ira’s husband is still in the war zone. He cannot leave because Ukrainian men have to stay in the country. Only men older than 60 years can leave.

Later on Ira told us that she had to run for her life in Kharkov. Only a few hours after she ran away, her apartment block was bombed. She showed me the picture that she got from friends who were still there. Her apartment was completely destroyed.

While I was talking to Ira, Koen got a phone call from JAFI: “There are 250 more Jewish refugees traveling to ‘your’ border crossing. Can you help?“

Koen never says no, we don’t want to leave anyone behind… so Koen fixed 6 other buses to collect these 250 refugees.

The financial cost of this rescue operation is growing hugely. It costs us 4,000 euros for the bus transport to evacuate a group of 50 people from our shelter in Ukraine to the safe haven of Bucharest (from where they fly to Israel). Ten buses we can pay. But what if the moment comes that we need hundreds or thousands of buses? How will we pay? We cannot leave people behind, how could we? How can you choose which person to evacuate or to leave behind?

Jewish refugees are brought to Romania by bus. | Photo: C4I

I am constantly on the phone, trying to describe the horrors of this crisis, the impossible choices and the enormous pressure we experience to everyone who wants to listen: journalists, churches, pastors, friends and colleagues. In the hope that more people will donate. We are so thankful for all the love, prayers and donations we receive, but it is not enough. Our Christians for Israel co-workers and volunteers all around the world are working just as hard as we do, to process all the photos and videos we send them.

We still wait for the other group to come… we bring coffee and sandwiches from the local church to our refugees that are already waiting for 4 hours. We give our smiles to the children that are with us. But inside I am crying. How can we manage? How can we save them all? It makes me crazy.

Suddenly I realize that in the Bible it says in Ezekiel 39: “Then they will know that I am the Lord their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind”.

God took it as His own responsibility to leave no one behind. We try to help everyone, but God is in charge. He is in control. That is all the comfort we need to be able to continue our work here.

Next Steps

Jewish refugees are brought  from Ukraine to Moldova. Because the airspace in Moldova is closed, buses are bringing the people to Romania. From there, they are brought to Israel. The expense of such a bus trip is € 4000 or $4400. This is about € 100 or $110 per person.

Would you like to assist one or more Jewish refugees with their evacuation and emigration to Israel? Or do you want to sponsor a whole bus? Please support our emergency campaign. Your support is of vital importance. Thank you in advance!




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