ICEJ gearing up for Aliyah surge from all directions

Door opens to sponsor more flights for North American Jews

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Posted on: 
19 Aug 2021
ICEJ gearing up for Aliyah surge from all directions

Late summer is normally a peak time for Jewish immigration to Israel, as many families plan their arrival here in time to enroll their children in school for the fall. But the weeks ahead are expected to see an unusual surge in Aliyah, as a large backlog of Jewish families who have put off their move to Israel due to the corona pandemic are now trying to make it into the country in time to get their children in school. And the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is currently positioned as never before to assist with Aliyah flights for Jews arriving from all directions at once – east, west, north and south.

We live in a unique time in history, as Christians in unprecedented numbers are helping restore the Jewish people to their ancestral homeland – all in keeping with the centuries-old Biblical prophecies about Gentiles helping with the return of the Jews to the Promised Land from the four corners of the earth. As Christians, we have the privilege not only to witness this modern-day miracle, but also to take an active role in making it happen. Thus, the ICEJ has been working for decades with the Jewish Agency for Israel and other partners to help with this historic Jewish return.

Yet in all our years of working in Aliyah, this moment stands out! Never before has the ICEJ had the chance to assist with Aliyah flights from so many countries at once. We are committed to helping with upcoming flights of hundreds of Ethiopian Jews and the Bnei Menashe from India over the next two-to-three months. We will still be helping with Aliyah flights from the North – Russia, Belarus and other former Soviet republics – as we have for decades. We just helped with large Aliyah flight groups from France and South Africa. But now the door has opened for us to also sponsor flights bringing American Jews home to Israel in greater numbers than ever.

There is a large buildup of Jewish families from North America seeking to reach Israel in coming weeks, just as some of the traditional funding sources for this Aliyah route have tapered off. And the Jewish Agency is asking the Christian Embassy to help with this expected surge of American Jewish immigration – which is already on target to be one of the biggest years ever for Aliyah from North America. Approximately 5,000 Jews from the USA and Canada are expected to immigrate to Israel in 2021, a 42% increase over the annual average.

This presents us with a wonderful opportunity to increase our Aliyah efforts in the area with the largest remaining population of Jews outside of Israel. There are an estimated 5.7 million Jews currently living in North America, and when adding in their close relatives the number of people eligible for Aliyah under the Law of Return jumps to 12.7 million.

The present surge in Aliyah is due to several factors, with one primary reason being that Israel is perceived as having done well so far in handling the coronavirus threat. Israel’s economy is also seen as stronger and more able to recover from the impact of the pandemic. For many in the younger generation, Israel holds better career opportunities, especially in the hi-tech sector. And there are growing concerns among Jews worldwide about the sharp rise in antisemitism over recent months, as many are falsely blaming the Jewish people for the corona pandemic, even while the recent Gaza rocket war and the racial tensions rocking the US and many other nations are also driving antisemitism. According to the ADL, there have been 8,004 incidents of antisemitism or extremism against Jews in the United States in 2020 and 2021.

In July, the ICEJ already responded to an urgent request from the Jewish Agency to help with the surge in Aliyah from the USA, as we sponsored flights for 30 olim (newcomers) from New York, New Jersey, California, Illinois, Florida and other states. Here are some of their personal stories.

Ari L. 24-year-old, from Maryland: "I made Aliyah to be a part of the Jewish future. I hope to contribute towards building the people of Israel in the Land of Israel."

Glen M. 27-year-old, from Texas: "I made Aliyah because I feel like I belong here and no one will judge me if I have my tzizit tucked out and kippa showing. And I wanted to be with people more my age and I thought Israel was the best place for me to meet young professionals my age. I hope to help make children happy and enjoy the work I do like working with people with unique needs and abilities."

Hadar B. 32-year-old, from New York: "Since before I can remember I wanted to live in Israel. Israel has always felt like home to me. I hope to contribute in building Israel up in its economy and assist with its overall success as a country.”

Josh A. 27-year-old, from Illinois: “I made Aliyah because it was my dream to come to Israel and live where my family came from generations ago and to be more a part of the Jewish people. I made Aliyah because I want to volunteer in the army and to one day raise my kids here.”

These young people have completed their quarantine and are now starting their new lives in Israel attending a five-month program at Ulpan Etzion Jerusalem – Israel's flagship intensive Hebrew learning program.

So far in 2021, there have been 14,723 new immigrants who have arrived in Israel over the first seven months. The ICEJ has assisted 2,175 of these new arrivals to make Aliyah, which represents some 15% of the Jews who have made the journey home to Israel this year. These Jewish newcomers have come from all over the world, including Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ethiopia, France, Finland, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, United States, Russia and other former Soviet republics.

But with your help, we are only getting started. Stand with us at this incredible moment when we have the chance to bring more Jews home to Israel from more directions than ever before. There are many making plans to arrive over coming weeks, but they need our help. Support the ICEJ’s Aliyah efforts today!