By: Anastasiya Gooding

There are many Jewish families desperate to reach Israel amid the Corona crisis. Thanks to our Christian donors, the ICEJ has brought over 1400 Jewish immigrants on evacuation flights since February. Each one has made their own unique journey home to Israel. Here are two families we have helped.

The flight that saved a life
Normally, the Aliyah process takes time and lots of paperwork. But for one Russian Jewish family who arrived this summer, there was no time to waste. Their seven year-old son was battling lymphatic cancer and needed life-saving treatments in Israel. So they were fast-tracked for citizenship in only one week’s time, and the young boy arrived in late June on an ICEJ-sponsored rescue flight. His story is one of a miracle still in the making.

Some 20 months ago, Boris Zheleznyak learned his son Maxim had acute leukaemia. Maxim began treatment in one of Russia’s best hospitals, and his parents devoted their all to caring for him. His mother even left work, and long before Corona hit they already were taking extraordinary steps to keep their home free of infections.

“Many now complain about how difficult it is to get through quarantine. For our family it had been going on for a year and a half”, said Boris. “We even refused to meet with relatives and friends.”

There were brief signs of improvement in Maxim’s condition, and then setbacks that produced despair. As they searched for more aggressive treatments, they realised the answer could only be found abroad. Then a friend told them about the Schneider Children’s Hospital in Israel. So on June 20th, Boris emailed the Jewish Agency a desperate plea: Let us enter Israel to save our son.

Boris was not optimistic. But the next day the local Jewish Agency representative called and promised to quickly complete their paperwork in both Israel and Russia. Miraculously, in just eight days the Zheleznyak family was on a flight to Tel Aviv. Upon landing they even received Israeli medical insurance, effective immediately.

“For the first time after a year and a half of a desperate struggle for the life of our son, we have hope for salvation,” Boris exclaimed.

Young Maxim is now being treated at Schneider Children’s Hospital in Petah Tikvah. Please keep praying that he will beat the cancer and grow up healthy and happy in Israel.

The parents of Olga Mursalieva waiting for their Aliyah flight to Israel in June.

A Daughter in Need
Another Jewish family brought on a recent ICEJ ‘rescue flight’ are the parents of Olga Mursalieva, who also is receiving urgent cancer treatments in Israel and needed her father and mother here at her side. Olga made Aliyah from Russia herself last November as a single mother with three children. After settling in Haifa, her future looked bright. But just weeks later, she was diagnosed with cancer.

Facing this sudden crisis, Olga encouraged her parents in Russia who quickly decided to move to Israel to be near her. They started the Aliyah process, quit their jobs, sold their house, said goodbye to friends, packed their belongings, and by early April were ready to leave. Then, literally on the way to the airport, they were shocked to hear that all flights were cancelled due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Russia. They had to turn around – but to where? And they were afraid news of the delay would send Olga into despair.

But with help from the Jewish Agency, Olga’s parents were quickly approved to board an evacuation flight to Israel sponsored by the Christian Embassy. They made it into the country in June and after two weeks of quarantine, were reunited with their daughter Olga and their three grandchildren. The fact that it happened so quickly seemed like a miracle.

Now they are caring for their three grandchildren and are so grateful to be here in Israel as a family together. Olga is currently being treated at the Rambam Hospital in Haifa, where she is in good hands with her doctors, her parents, and her faith in God.