87 Afghan refugees rescued by Israeli aid group will settle in Canada

Displaced Afghans mark one of the largest group of refugee populations worldwide.

By World Israel News Staff

Some 87 Afghan refugees led out of turmoil by Israeli international aid NGO IsraAid last year were given permission last week to apply for resettlement in Canada.

The 87 refugees are part of a larger group of 125 Afghan citizens who arrived in Albania last October following an initiative led by the Israeli NGO together with a number of activists, leaders, and donors, including Israeli-Canadian businessman Sylvan Adams and an anonymous family foundation.

“What we did in this operation to extract and resettle these Afghan [citizens] was simply practicing the ancient Jewish cultural imperative of Tikkun Olam, which means improving our world,” said Adams.

The 125 refugees were given asylum in countries such as the UAE and Albania, before seeking long-term resettlement in countries including Canada, France, and Switzerland. This group was the second to be led out of Afghanistan by the Israeli NGO.

The 87 Afghans hoping to move to Canada have been living in a refugee center in the Kolaveri resort, near Tirana, Albania’s capital. IsraAID has ensured that their needs have been met, including education, mental health support, child protection, community-building and medical care. A community school was opened in order to teach English, French, vocational skills, photography and more for adults and children.

Those who were evacuated are considered particularly vulnerable under Taliban rule, and many of the women and girls among them have served as symbols of female empowerment and leadership. After escaping Afghanistan, they were granted safe passage through a neighboring country to the UAE and Albania.

Over half a million Afghans were internally displaced in 2021, according to the United Nations’s Refugee Agency, UNHCR, and displaced  Afghans mark one of the largest group of refugee populations worldwide.

Last week, Israel’s Foreign Ministry donated $500,000 to support Afghan refugees in Tajikistan, the first donation of its kind by the ministry.