Dr Mike Evans

Israel considers airlifting Ukrainian Jews as Russian invasion threat grows

A group of Israeli leaders met on Sunday to discuss how to respond to Ukrainian Jews who face the potential threat of invasion, as Russia continues to amass troops along the nation’s border.

“The meeting included representatives from the National Security Council, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Foreign, Defense, Transport and Diaspora Affairs ministries, as well as the Jewish Agency and Nativ, the secretive government organization that maintains connections between Israel and Jews in the countries of the former Soviet Union,” Haaretz reported.

The potential concerns could impact up to approximately 75,000 Jews in Ukraine. One option under discussion would be an airlift of eligible Jews to Israel. A similar move took place in the 1990s when thousands of Jews were airlifted from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia when the city fell during a time of war.

Though no decisions have been finalized, the plans have ramped up in urgency following moves over the past week. The US has already started moving some of its Ukrainian embassy staff from the country and has recommended all Americans leave Ukraine.

The White House has also increased speculation regarding a response to Russia if an invasion of Ukraine occurs. Controversy arose last week after President Joe Biden referred to a “minor incursion” into Ukraine, leading the Ukraine’s president to remind the world there are no minor incursions.

Biden administration leaders have since spoken more strongly against “any entry” into Ukraine as an invasion, though it’s unclear what the US would actually do in response. The US has also authorized the movement of some military equipment from other nations in Eastern Europe to be repositioned in Ukraine.

NATO has also spoken strongly against any Russian invasion of Ukraine, though a military response seems unlikely. Instead, if Israel wants to protect Jews in Ukraine, it may be on its own to act and rescue them.