Updated: Mar 10, 2022
These are indeed troubling times. Russian aggression in Ukraine has left thousands of civilians dead or injured, and over a million people without a home, packing up whatever they can in their search for safety.
As international aid organizations are mobilizing to help those seeking refuge from war-torn Ukraine, representatives of Dror Israel traveled to Poland, Moldova and Romania in order to better understand the situation and develop plans for bigger, more substantial support, especially for the children and teens who have fled their homes.
One of the Dror representatives shared some of his recent experiences, "It took us ages to cross the border to Moldova. We arrived to Kishinev, to the Agudat Yisrael Synagogue, where Rabbi Pinchas, Moldova's chief Rabbi, has built a massive aid operation. We saw all the volunteers who came with food and warm clothes to help arrange accommodation for the thousands of refugees that arrive each day. Jews and non-Jews alike arrive tired and broken from the harrowing journey. Mostly women and children, as the men are all drafted to the Ukrainian army. Some did not make it. They arrive in convoys, packing backpacks and small trolleys. Such an odd word, "refugee". They look like the average European family, only they don't know where they are going to spend the night, where their next meal will come from, where they will go next."
"A girl arrives, not more than 13, and sits quietly in a corner of our heated support tent. When we offer her soup, she asks if it's Kosher. Her name is Tzila, she is waiting for her uncle to come pick her up but she does not know when he will arrive. Dozens of little moments like these happen every hour. The number of refugees passing through here is astonishing."
While we prepare ourselves for bigger and more comprehensive relief operations on European soil, we are also operating a nationwide aid collection operation in Israel. All the branches of Hanoar Haoved – the youth movement associated with Dror Israel – and the eight Dror Israel high schools are filling every empty space they have with warm clothes, food and supplies that the participants have collected from local Israeli communities. Cars filled to the brim with these essential supplies arrived to greet a group of 100 Ukrainian orphans who have just arrived in Israel.
As we hope for a swift end to the bloody war, we are also working to warmly welcome the recent Ukrainian arrivals in Israel.
We will keep you updated as Dror Israel’s plans for a larger aid operation unfold.