Georgian 'Olim' Happy to be Home

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CBNNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Seventy-five new immigrants [olim chadashim in Hebrew] who fled the Russian offensive in Georgia are happy to be home.

Many of the former Georgians are living in Bat Yam and Ashdod, both with easy access to Mediterranean beaches.

A benefits package prepared by the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, includes ulpan (intensive Hebrew school), subsidized rent, and employment counseling and training.

"I feel like I've come home," said Vaj'a Memisashvili, who arrived with wife and two children, ages three and eight, last week.

The Memisashvili family is living in a kibbutz (agricultural community) in northern Israel, in a program sponsored by Kibbutz Movement and the Jewish Agency.

"Here, I'm not afraid of war starting. As an Israeli citizen, I will do whatever is necessary to defend the homeland. I feel like we've come home and I know everything will work out for the best," he said.

Members of Kibbutz Messila made the family welcome in their new home.

"I have a lot of family in Israel, and I heard stories of when they first immigrated," Memisashvili said. "I was surprised by the way people responded to us. They come over, they visit, they bring us clothes and things for our home, and we were even invited for Shabbat [Sabbath] dinner. It warms the heart," he said.

A single mother of two, Natia Zurshvile, spoke with YNet news.

"Our house [in Gori] was bombed. Almost all of it collapsed," she said. "My father took me, the children and my mother to Tbilisi and then went back to collect our belongings. Now, he can't get out of there because the Russians have closed it down. But he will immigrate too because there's no choice left. There is nothing there," she said.

Zurshville, her children, sister and her sister's family are staying in an absorption center in Ashdod until they find an apartment big enough for them.

"We came with nothing, not even a change of clothes," she said. "It's hard to describe the hell we've been through. I'm in daily contact with my father. He doesn't leave the house -- what's left of it -- and we're very worried about him," she said.

"I'm still in shock because of everything that's happened, but I hope we'll manage. I'm an accountant. I hope I can find work and make a living here," she said.

Source: YNet news

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