Emergency £7.5m fund announced to support Ukrainian Jews

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Emergency £7.5m fund announced to support Ukrainian Jews

Genesis Philanthropy Group will allocate the money to assist vulnerable Jewish communities caught in the crossfire of war with Russia

An emergency £7.5m fund has been created to support Ukrainian Jews affected by Russia’s invasion.

Genesis Philanthropy Group, which was co-founded by Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan, has allocated $10m (£7.45m) to assist vulnerable Jewish communities caught in the crossfire of conflict.

Stations have been set up by the Jewish Agency for Israel in Hungary, Moldova, Poland and Romania to help an expected wave of Ukrainian Jews fleeing war following last week’s Russian invasion.

GPG, an organisation which supports Russian-speaking Jewish communities across the world, will use the funds to distribute emergency supplies, evacuation efforts, homes for the elderly, and other communal necessities, for those unable or unwilling to leave the country.

The fund will be split into two aid packages, with half allocated for immediate purposes.

This will be done through international Jewish organisations, including the Jewish Agency for Israel, Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine, who are providing 30,000 packages of non-perishable foodstuffs, the US-based Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) , helping vulnerable and elderly Ukrainian Jews, and regional communal organisations.

The other half will be distributed to support urgent humanitarian aid, as the crisis continues to develop.

On the weekend, Mikhail Fridman, who also holds Israeli citizenship, told employees of his equity firm LetterOne in a letter sent on Friday that “war can never be the answer”.

He wrote: “I was born in Western Ukraine and lived there until I was 17. My parents are Ukrainian citizens and live in Lviv, my favourite city.

Mikhail Fridman

“I have also spent much of my life as a citizen of Russia, building and growing businesses. I am deeply attached to Ukrainian and Russian peoples and see the current conflict as a tragedy for them both.”

Gennady Gazin, Chairman of the Board of Genesis Philanthropy Group, said: “As we watch with great distress the scenes coming from Ukraine, we see it as our duty to help Jews in danger, as we have done in other times and places.”

“As someone born in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, I am especially pained by this suffering. I hope that peace will return and the Ukranian Jewish community will be able to withstand these hardships and thrive again.”

Mark Sisisky, President of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), said “the current crisis in Ukraine has led to a dramatic increase in humanitarian needs and I am ever grateful to our partners at Genesis Philanthropy Group, and to its founders, for their visionary commitment to helping and strengthening Jewish communities in Ukraine and around the world, part of their numerous philanthropic endeavors addressing this goal.”

“Our teams on the ground – part of our vast presence in Ukraine and around the former Soviet Union – will be able to do so much good with this generous support. We’re providing food, medicine, and other emergency aid in Ukraine and also partnering with Jewish communities in surrounding countries to welcome Jews crossing the borders.”

Rabbi Raphael Rutman of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine, said: “In these grave times, as we pray for peace and calm, we are witnessing yet again the power of Jewish unity in the spirit of Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh La-Zeh – All Jews are responsible for each other. It is with this in mind that we are proud to join forces with GPG to bring food to those who are in desperate need today and will be in need tomorrow.”

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