The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews sponsored a flight bringing new immigrants from the South American country.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
A charter flight from Peru brought a group of new immigrants to Israel hoping to make a new life after enduring the pandemic and social unrest there, the news website Iton Gadol reported Monday.
The 37 members of Peru’s Jewish community landed at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport on Friday after switching planes in Madrid where they were joined by a Spanish Jew who also made aliyah, or immigrated, to Israel.
“We were required to stay at home as a result of the closure. From the window of our house we can see the riots happening outside,” said a 20-year-old Peruvian jew who plans to join the IDF after arriving in Israel.
The flight also carried eight Israelis who had been stranded in Peru when its borders closed due to the pandemic and failed to make it to an El Al rescue flight in March. A dozen Israelis similarly stranded in Spain took advantage as well.
“A month ago, some families from Peru contacted me, very distressed because the health system and the economy are collapsed in that country,” said Nadin Hakas, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) representative in Uruguay.
“Some of the families had completed their aliyah process, others were Israeli citizens – Peru residents and stranded tourists – who wanted to return, but they all had in common that they could not reach Israel because the Peruvian borders were closed since the beginning of March,” Hakas told Iton Gadol.
Hakas said the flight was indeed a rescue mission.
“We had cases of people with illnesses who were not receiving medication, and we were even contacted by the children of an older couple who went to Peru to visit family, and the second time that their return flight to Israel was canceled the man had a heart attack and died. ”
A previous attempt on June 3 using the South American airline Latam failed when the company declared bankruptcy. However, IFCJ worked with the Spanish Embassy in Lima to charter a flight to Spain with almost 300 people, including the Peruvians, Israelis and over 200 Spanish citizens and other Europeans who were trying to return home.
In Madrid, 58 passengers switched to a special charter flight arranged by IFCJ because there are no scheduled flights between Spain and Israel due to the pandemic.
“The joy and relief of these people upon landing in Israel is indescribable, thus ending, in many cases, a real nightmare,” Hakas said.