Zalina found out about Israel’s expedited program to get Jews out of Ukraine through Telegram.

“A lot of documents are not needed like before, such as a criminal background check.”

Zalina and her son, Timur, boarded a Jewish organization’s bus from Odesa to Chișinău. 



“Coordinators met us there, asking if we were here in order to make Aliyah [Jews emigrating], or if we arrived as refugees [non-Jews].”

In the Moldovan capital two Israeli groups including the Jewish Agency received Zalina.

Since Zalina left Odesa the bridge near her family's hotel has been bombed.

The family obliged.

The Ukrainian military, she says, asked to use the first floor of the family's small yet damaged hotel as a residence.

Bridge footage prior to bombing

Zalina describes the expedited process for visas and flights facilitated by the Jewish Agency.

It took  4 days.

They were taken to a hotel in Jerusalem where Ukrainian Jewish immigrants were offered stays and meals for a minimum of two weeks.

Zalina's former hotel, The Ein Kerem

 Aid groups regularly came to the hotels where the Israeli government was housing new Ukrainian Jewish immigrants. 

A volunteer from one of them helped Zalina open a bank account and advised her on where to get necessary items for life in Israel.

The Israeli aid organization Yad L’Olim helped Zalina's family find more permanent housing.

When their hotel stay was up, the family moved into a 2-bedroom apartment in Haifa.