Published originally in the Times of Israel.

NEW YORK — Jewish community leaders met Friday with Ukraine’s ambassador to the UN and other international delegates in New York to discuss the refugee crisis in Europe.

Ukrainian UN Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya spoke with representatives from an array of Jewish groups to coordinate a response to the humanitarian crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Slovakian ambassador to the UN hosted the meeting at his office. It was also attended by Poland and Moldova’s ambassadors to the UN and representatives from the Hungarian and Romanian UN missions in New York.

Kyslytsya said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion is going to fail, but it may take time, according to Cheryl Fishbein, the president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, who attended the meeting. She said the meeting focused on the refugee issue.

“I was very thankful that they called this meeting because it really created real cohesiveness to understand that should they need something, we’re ready to coordinate with them,” Fishbein said.

Kyslytsya asked that refugees be treated with respect and put in proper housing. The other representatives said they were, but that their countries were struggling with the staggering number of refugees entering their borders. Over 2.5 million Ukrainians have fled the country since the war started less than three weeks ago.

The Jewish organizations talked about the larger crisis, the specific needs of Jewish refugees and discussed fundraising with the UN representatives during the meeting, which went over 90 minutes.

The international envoys see the Jewish community as an effective ally in dealing with the refugee crisis, Fishbein said, describing the meeting “warm and cohesive.”

The meeting was called “because this rings so true to the Jewish community, and the collective memory from the Second World War is so intense, that we’ve come together to really help support the refugees,” she said.

“We as a community are just so taken and upset and involved in this whole thing that we’re there for them and we could rally around our politicians and really make things happen should they need to happen,” Fishbein added.

The group briefly discussed reaching out to elected officials about accepting Ukrainian refugees to the US in the future, should the need arise.

Everyone present was well aware of Israel’s sensitive diplomatic situation with Russia, since it coordinates security operations with Moscow in Syria. However, there was a gentle nudge to encourage Israel to support Ukraine more.

Ukraine has consistently pushed Jerusalem for more support since Russia launched its invasion, straining ties between Kyiv and Jerusalem. Israel has sought to use its strong relationships with both Russia and Ukraine to mediate between the countries, so far unsuccessfully.

Representatives attended the meeting from Agudath Israel of America, Orthodox Union, United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn, American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, HIAS, Chabad, Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and the Met Council, in addition to the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.

New York Jewish organizations have raised tens of millions of dollars to support both Jewish and non-Jewish Ukrainian refugees, in addition to other measures to help alleviate the crisis. Chabad has raised over $12 million and organized rescues on the ground in Ukraine, and Agudah has raised over $10 million.

Orthodox Union and its partners have airlifted thousands of pounds of kosher food and medical supplies to refugees in Poland, while Jewish community centers and first responders have also collected supplies and sent them to Europe.

© 2020 American Jewish Congress.