Israel (MNN) — While the fighting continues between Russia and Ukraine, the conflict is having another unintended consequence. The Jewish population of both Russia and Ukraine is leaving in large numbers.
According to Mark Adomanis, a Russian demographics expert, if the current trends continue, the number of Jewish people in these nations will be almost nonexistent.
Where are they going? Most of them are emigrating to Israel.
President of Mission Eurasia Sergey Rakhuba backs this claim. He says, “Because of the crisis in Ukraine, the number of new immigrants from Ukraine to Israel grew 215% in that last four to five months.”
That, coupled with a 50% increase of new immigrants from Russia to Israel, means the Russian-speaking population in Israel is growing exponentially.
That’s on top of the immigrants who left when the Soviet Union collapsed. Rakhuba says, “Out of over three million Jews in Israel, every third Jew in Israel is a Russian-speaking Jew today. So, if you come to Haifa or Tel Aviv or even Jerusalem, you see all these Russian speakers everywhere, but somebody needs to reach them with the Gospel.”
Mission Eurasia has been working in Israel for more than a year, establishing their School Without Walls program–their next generation professional leaders initiative. “We have 40 students now, working with Russian-speaking communities there to train those who will go and plant home churches.”
Seven house churches have already been established. Rakhuba is praying seven more churches will be planted in the next two or three years.
Rakhuba says many Russian speakers don’t have any religious affiliation. “They are very much open to the Gospel there, because that’s where they’re trying to connect in their mindset and their understanding.”
While this is a new opportunity for Mission Eurasia, it’s not something that will always be there. Rakhuba says, “We believe within the next 7-10 years that window of opportunity will start closing because the children of immigrants from the former Soviet Union will be more assimilated to the Hebrew language and Jewish culture there.”
What can you do? Rakhuba says above all, you can pray for their Next Generation leaders–“leaders that will go into towns and plant churches reaching Russian-speaking Jews there, bringing the Gospel to Israel. And, pray for resources that are needed to support these Jewish evangelists in Israel.”
If you’d like to support Mission Eurasia’s work in Israel, click here.