Experiencing Ukraine


“On Ukraine’s roads and rails, the scale of the unfolding human catastrophe becomes painfully clear. Fleeing civilians crowd onto trains, sleep on station floors, and walk for hours-sometimes days- in their effort to escape the Russian assault.

It’s here that Ukrainians, who only days before, lived predictable and conventional lives, find themselves transformed into refugees. Now they are dependent on the goodwill of strangers if they are to find a place to lay their head, find a cup of hot tea to drink, or find diapers for their babies. They set out on perilous journeys with small children in tow and pets in cages, leaving their homes behind as they head for a safe haven, whether Poland, Germany, Romania, Hungary, Israel and more. It often doesn’t matter, so long as it’s somewhere else.”


“I met Igor in a coffee shop across from Pshemshul’s (Przemysl) train station. I wanted to go in the opposite direction and hoped that he could help me. Igor didn’t have a train schedule to share with me, because the trains weren’t operating according to any schedule. They left Lviv (in western Ukraine) when they were packed to their absolute limit with travelers, and headed back in as quickly as the humanitarian aid could be loaded.”


Lazar notes the welcome, efficient aid of Israeli diplomats assisting Israeli citizens, including himself. “Only one country was arranging buses for free from Lviv, escorted by security guards, and had its diplomats meet the buses to issue documents in the field. It is an incredible service, and a testament to the values of the embassy staff, the Foreign Ministry, and the values of Israel’s people. Three generations ago, those with one Jewish grandparent were sent on transports to their deaths. Now the same ancestry meant a protected ride to safety, organized and funded by the Jewish state.”


At The Friends of Israel you can contribute to humanitarian efforts by designating your gifts to Eastern European Relief. We are seeking to build bridges and bring hope to fleeing refugees.

(Source: Lazar Berman, The Times of Israel)