Ukrainian Jew approved for aliyah killed near Kharkiv

Mikhel Gennadii killed by a mine in eastern Ukraine; will be buried in Israel.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

A Ukrainian Jew who obtained Israeli citizenship but was unable to travel to Israel because of the Russian invasion was killed by a landmine on Saturday, Ynet reported on Monday.

The 48-year-old Gennadii, who had the rank of captain and was in charge of logistics for his division, was driving with another soldier to check in on several outposts when they ran over a landmine near Kupiansk, an eastern Ukrainian town not far from Kharkiv.

Ynet added that the Ukrainian military’s chief rabbi will assist in having Gennadii’s body transferred to Israel for burial.

Gennadii began the process of aliyah after a 2018 incident in which his parents’ home in Cherkasy was set on fire and a swastika painted on a nearby fence, family members told Ynet.

“When we tried to put out the fire, a group of young men stood over the fence and filmed how our house burning. The police didn’t arrest anyone and dismissed our complaints, so Gennadii said we must leave Ukraine,” said Gennadii’s father, Arkadi, who now lives in the Israeli town of Nahariya.

According to Gennadii’s widow, Tatiana — who lives in Israel with their daughter, Anna — Mikhel was booked to fly to Israel in February after plans to move were repeatedly delayed. But Mikhel was unable to leave when Russia invaded, and was then asked to join the Ukrainian army.

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“He graduated with honors from a military college in 1993, and served in the Ukrainian army until 1997,” Arkadi explained. “He was an engineer and an economist expert in military supplies, after he was discharged from the military, he worked in civil jobs. He could do everything, he knew how to drive both a tank and a truck.”

A photo of Gennadii’s Israeli identity card showed that it was issued on February 8, 2022, just over two weeks before the Russian invasion.

Their daughter, Anna, will soon be joining the IDF.

Israel’s Ministry of Immigration and Absorption expects to receive more than 64,000 olim by the end of December, the highest number in two decades. Of the immigrants who arrived in Israel this year, 47 percent came from Russia and 25% from Ukraine.