Philanthropist helping rescue 200 Jewish orphans from Ukraine
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Philanthropist helping rescue 200 Jewish orphans from Ukraine

EXCLUSIVE: Moti Kahana, an Israeli-American rescue contractor famed for his work helping Syrians and Afghans, has teamed up with Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to evacuate children via Romania

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Tovia Zeter (left) and JDC rep on right on Ukrainian Romanian border getting ready to receive orphans from Ukraine
Tovia Zeter (left) and JDC rep on right on Ukrainian Romanian border getting ready to receive orphans from Ukraine

The Israeli-American rescue contractor, Moti Kahana, has teamed up with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (the JDC, or “Joint”) to rescue 200 Jewish orphans from Ukraine, via Romania.

And for Kahana, famed for his work in Syria and Afghanistan, this will be a family affair: the rescue is being co-ordinated with his uncle, Tovia Zeter, in a small village near the Ukrainian-Romanian border, Arbore — and his mother, Amalia, 73, who was born and raised in Romania, is flying in from Israel to help with the translation.

Kahana told Jewish News that he was due this week to fly to Romania, where his uncle had already set up camp with the aid of the Joint, with a field kitchen and tents.

“There is a JDC team of 12 people on the ground. I’ve been asked to bring 400 people in total, 200 children and the rest are teachers and relatives”.

You can view the JDC Romania donation page here.

Tovia Zeter (Moti Kahana’s uncle) and JDC rep

The Jewish refugees from Ukraine, said Kahana, would fly on to Israel, while the non-Jews would probably be resettled in several European countries. But he made it clear that he did not distinguish between Jews and non-Jews when it came to rescuing them from the battlefields of Ukraine.

“I saw what happened in Syria when Putin was carpet-bombing Aleppo”, he said, “and nothing has changed.”

He was determined to do whatever he could in a humanitarian mission.

Kahana’s own family history has a lot to do with his decision to help the Ukrainian refugees.

“Many of my relations were killed in Jassy in 1941 — and there were Ukrainians (collaborators with the Nazis) who were involved in the killing. But I am proud to help Ukrainians today — and I am doing it in honour of my family”.

Bringing supplies, Romania

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