Minister Nachman Shai: Israeli gov’t acting to help Ukrainian Jews, has ‘signaled that it is leading on this issue and is not waiting to act.’
By: INN Staff
Diaspora Affairs Minister Dr. Nachman Shai (Labor) on Monday reported on the Ministry’s efforts to assist Jewish communities in Ukraine.
Addressing the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, Shai emphasized during the hearing that the more Israel assists such communities, the more the sense of Jewish peoplehood will grow within Israel.
“The more the Knesset does on this issue the better,” he said. “The more that awareness in Israeli society of the situation of Jews living in Ukraine, and of Israelis there, grows, and the more we deal with it – we will see one of our goals [realized] which is the growth of a sense of peoplehood, a feeling that all Jews are responsible for one another.”
“Jewish solidarity, which we talk about a lot, is getting a new definition and getting re-worked for the 21st century.
“These connections which are being renewed between Israel and the Diaspora and among the Diaspora itself between distant communities which are raising money to help Ukraine and Jewish communities there, is proof of the fact that we are really dealing with one Jewish people which is dispersed but comes together at difficult times and knows how to work in partnership.”
The Minister noted that the Diaspora Affairs Ministry has been working in conjunction with several government ministries and other organizations, including the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, the Jewish Agency, Nativ, the JDC, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, and other organizations.
Minister Shai detailed four critical needs of the Ukrainian Jewish community which the Ministry’s allocation of NIS 10 million will support: physical security; food and medicine; transportation for those seeking to evacuate to safe areas or to the borders; and absorption of internally displaced people from the Jewish community inside Ukraine and refugees outside of Ukraine.
These funds will be transferred to two organizations on the ground who have partnered with the Diaspora Affairs Ministry, which will then transfer the money onwards to specific communities. Shai added that the Ministry will likely increase this support going forward.
“We have signaled that the government is leading on this issue and is not waiting to act,” Shai said. “Our efforts also demonstrate to Jewish organizations in Israel and around the world that when the government of Israel takes action, it does so seriously.”
“Such action also underlines that it is not just them [world Jewish communities] helping, but that Israel also knows how to take care of both its citizens and Jewish communities, [and] is not waiting but acting fast.”