As the war in Ukraine continues, so too does the influx and absorption of Jewish refugees to Israel. Just over a fortnight ago we launched our campaign to support ‘Operation Israel Guarantees’, the Jewish Agency’s direct response to those escaping the horrors of war for the security of the Jewish homeland.

For many, the current situation is all too familiar. Rita, 84, was one of the few members of her family who survived the Holocaust. When the war began, her granddaughter Jenny asked our partner organisation, the Jewish Agency, to rescue Rita and bring her to Israel, where Jenny already lives.

The process was not straightforward. After being rescued from her home, Rita was transferred to Zhytomyr where she met a local rabbi and then she made her way to Lviv, which is less than 50 miles from the Polish border. Once there, Jenny contacted a Jewish Agency representative, Rafi Heltzer, who ensured Rita would be safe in Poland. All Rafi knew was that Rita was in the Korczowa refugee camp in Poland. Incredibly, he was able to locate her face among the thousands of refugees there based on one single picture. When he found her, she was not well, but a medical team helped her recover from her long arduous journey.

Thanks to our collective efforts, Rita is now in Israel, with Jenny and her family.

Rita is just one out of more than 4,000 Jewish Ukrainian refugees who have arrived in Israel – in just one month. As the situation worsens this figure will increase.

The British Jewish Community has always risen to the challenge and supported those turning to Israel in their time of need. Whether it was Jews escaping Sudan, Yemen, Ethiopia or the Former Soviet Union, we understand the importance and value of Israel as a safehaven for Jews – no matter where they come from. Thanks to the generosity of our community we have already raised over £650,000. Our campaign has been bolstered by a significant contribution from the Gerald and Gail Ronson Family Foundation for which we are very grateful. But we need to do more.

If you have already supported this emergency campaign – thank you. Your contribution has made a big difference. If you have not yet given, please do whatever you can to ensure that once again our community is there for those most in need. To support the UJIA appeal for ‘Operation Israel Guarantees’ click here; thank you in advance for your generosity.