Arik in Ukraine on a zoom call with his worried father  father Edward, in Israel on Monday

Israelis urge relatives in Ukraine to leave amid invasion fears

Edward says not only does he miss his son, he is now afraid for his safety, says expects the Russians to hit strategic targets in a limited attack; Dikla says her brothers calm is more un-nerving for her

Ynet |
Published: 02.14.22, 10:30
Its been a year since Edward Bekleinic was Arik, his son who lives in south east Ukraine.
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  • Now in addition to missing him, Edward is plagued by concern for his safety amid threats of a Russian invasion.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Arik in Ukraine on a zoom call with his worried father  father Edward, in Israel on Monday
    Arik in Ukraine on a zoom call with his worried father  father Edward, in Israel on Monday
    Arik in Ukraine on a zoom call with his worried father father Edward, in Israel on Monday
    (Photo: Courtesy)
    "We are in daily contact," he said. "We tell him everything we are hearing here, but he is a smart kid and is as up to date as we are, even more."
    "We know the area well. It is where we come from, so we are worried, but he says he is aware," he adds.
    "I trust him to be mature enough to know when it is time to leave. He does not listen to us anyway, but he knows his parents are giving him the best advice."
    In a zoom call initiated by Ynet, Arik sounded calm.
    "No one here is talking about the coffee shops being full, only in the Israeli WhatsApp groups. It is evident that something will happen, but we don't know the scope. If they do something. I suppose they will attack strategic targets that will help them take control. I don't see the Russians wanting to occupy the Ukraine but maybe to replace the leadership," he said.
    Edward also thinks any Russian attack will be limited. "The Ukrainians are weak and do not want war. It is Russian politics. They are experts in spreading fear and walking the tight rope," he said. "They can launch rockets at open fields, like we get from Gaza, but I doubt they will fire at a populated city."
    The Salameh family is also worried. David, Dikla's brother has been traveling back and forth to Ukraine for the past five years and is now residing in a town in the country's south-west.
    "We are very concerned and are afraid there may be a Russian attack and it will be difficult to get out," she said.
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    David in Ukraine talks to his sister Dikla in Israel
    David in Ukraine talks to his sister Dikla in Israel
    David in Ukraine talks to his sister Dikla in Israel
    (Photo: Courtesy)

    "We are trying to share all the reporting with him, all the dangers. There may not have been an attack yet, but this is the time to leave," she said. "We may be overly uptight but we prefer to have him here with us."
    David is not fazed by the Russian threats. "We are not feeling the winds of war. I don't know why everyone in Israel is so concerned. Media reports here are totally different. Its like they are talking about a different place. Its like there would be a military operation in Gaza while I am in the north of the country," he said.
    His sisters are unconvinced. "I get more uptight the more he appears calm," one said.
    After a tense conversation with his sister, David decided to book a flight home and was surprised by the price.
    "I tried to do what the government said and buy a ticket, but the prices jumped and are double or three times as expensive," he said. "They are cynically taking advantage of people's concerns. It is annoying," he said
    Meanwhile Israelis are returning from Ukraine in small numbers.
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       Israelis arriving from Ukraine at the Ben Gurion Airport on Sunday
       Israelis arriving from Ukraine at the Ben Gurion Airport on Sunday
    Israelis arriving from Ukraine at the Ben Gurion Airport on Sunday
    (Photo: Arik Marmur)
    "Late on Saturday, we started worrying after messages from home," said one. "Luckily we got on the flight on Sunday. We saw military trucks on the roads and there is some tension on the street."
    Another recent arrival said things appeared to be getting serious.
    "The locals seem indifferent, but I suppose things will change. Israelis are returning home because of fear of Putin but after the Hamas, we have nothing to fear.





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