This week we’ll deliver three more trucks loaded with 20 tons of food each. This brings us to one million pounds of food delivered—not to the border areas, but deep inside the country of Ukraine. Our City of Refuge storehouses are located in the east and south of the country, the very places facing the most severe attacks. There are men, women, and children alive today because of the food and supplies friends like you made possible for us to take to them. You are making a huge difference…and as wonderful as everything that’s been done so far has been, we’re still going full speed ahead. This is not a place to stop. It’s a wonderful place to start the next outreach of love and compassion to the people of Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin rarely leaves his country, but this week he traveled to Tehran to meet the mullahs who rule Iran. U.S. intelligence has already revealed that Iran is providing drones for Russia to use in Ukraine. Deeper ties between Russia and Iran are a dangerous sign for Ukraine…and for Israel. The radicals who run Iran have made no secret of their aims to attack Israel, and Russia has plenty of advanced military gear that Iran could use. This meeting highlights the vital importance of our work, both for Ukraine and for Israel as well.
Satellite imagery has detected that some 1400 bodies were buried in a mass cemetery in Mariupol, Ukraine, where bitter fighting with Russian forces dragged on for weeks. No one knows how many of these people were civilians. No one knows the names that go with each new grave. But the families of those who were lost are grieving, and those who remain alive are still in desperate need of assistance.
The Russian missile attack on the central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia this week—far from the fighting in the east and south of the country—highlighted the grim truth that there is no safe place anywhere in Ukraine. Yet despite the dangers, our teams on the ground at our City of Refuge storehouses continue to provide help and hope…thanks to the compassion and generosity of friends like you. The needs continue, and even though we have already done so much, we must do more.
The news this week that Iran is planning to send hundreds of surveillance and combat drones to Russia for use in Ukraine is a grim reminder of the deadly threats facing the Ukrainian people…and a grim reminder of the threat posed by Iran. These same drones are a constant threat to Israel as well, and the willingness of Iran to send so many to Russia is a stark statement of their capacity to spread death and destruction. In the face of this evil, we must continue to do all we can to help the suffering people of Ukraine.
I was told that Russia made a list of Jewish people after they began the war against Ukraine, which they call the de-Nazification of Ukraine, and accused the president of Ukraine (who is Jewish) of being a Nazi. Now they are using that list to crack down on people fleeing the country. This is a deadly threat, and we are increasing our efforts to help as many people as possible to escape before it’s too late…but we can’t do it without you. I was named after my great grandfather, Rabbi Mikel Katz-Nelson, who was burned to death in his synagogue with 2,000 Jews. The cantor rabbi was the grandfather of the ninth president of Israel, Shimon Peres, who was our chairman of Friends of Zion until his death. Because of what I am seeing and hearing, my great fear is that another pogrom is coming. Tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of Jews could be killed. We’ve got to get them out of Ukraine to Israel before it’s too late.