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March 29, 2022 8:16 am
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Israeli Diplomats Work Feverishly to Tend to Those Affected by Ukraine Crisis

avatar by Mike Wagenheim / JNS.org

A child wrapped in an Israeli flag is seen at a solidarity demonstration with Ukraine in Tel Aviv’s Habima Square. Photo: Reuters/Corinna KernAINE

JNS.org – In an area of the world where being a Jew once meant peril, it now can save your life.

“My grandmother was a pediatric doctor, and then she took a second specialty of cardiology, and she was working in practice as department head in a hospital. But she did not get the title of the position because that was too much for a Jew to be granted,” said Ambassador Simona Halperin, head of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mission at the Ukrainian-Polish border.

“And I was reminded of that this week when I saw thousands of people standing at the borders, trying to escape the tragedy in Ukraine. And they stand there day and night, and there is one word that can help them. And that is if they say I am a Jew because there is someone then that takes their call,” she said.

“I am the granddaughter of a Polish Jew who lost all of his family in Warsaw, and for me to actually land in Warsaw with three planes of cargo—of humanitarian assistance—taken to the Ukrainians, that was very moving. You come into Ukraine and see these people in lines. It is just heartbreaking,” said Halperin.

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She and Ambassador Eynat Shlein, head of MASHAV–Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, spoke last week during a briefing on Israeli humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. The briefing was organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and highlighted Israel’s role in assisting Ukrainians—both Jewish and non-Jewish—during the last month of the crisis.

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