By: Aaron Hecht

In November, ICEJ vice presidents Barry Denison and Nicole Yoder were special guests at a gala dinner in Akko hosted by Israel’s relatively new OFEK Aliyah agency held to mark “Aliyah Day”.

The event was hosted by OFEK, a not-for-profit NGO set up by the Israeli government to work alongside the Jewish Agency to promote and facilitate Aliyah. It receives most of its funding from the Israeli government and is now the primary organisation assisting Jewish people from most regions around the world to make Aliyah (immigrate) to Israel.

The ICEJ first began working with OFEK three years ago, just after its formation in 2016 as a response to the Ukraine crisis and then went on to help with the wave of French Aliyah, explained ICEJ Aliyah Director Howard Flower. “In Russia we have been working with OFEK Israel for three years on the ground and in Belarus two years”.

“On Aliyah Day we honour the immigrants to Israel through the generations – the people who left everything and immigrated to Israel,” Minister of Immigration and Absorption Yoav Galant told the gathering. “The bravery, determination and unique contribution of each one is felt very well in all aspects of life in the country… that every Jew around the world should see his home and his future in the State of Israel, even if his current place of residence is different.”

According to Howard Flower, “Last summer Barry Denison met the OFEK director at one of our Aliyah seminars in Finland, and he was moved to tears by our work. We called that one seminar ‘Aliyah super weekend’ because in addition to the normal Aliyah workshops, we also brought a group of Jewish Olim through Finland to Israel.”

Denison also spoke at the event and shared about the ICEJ’s many Aliyah efforts over the past 40 years as well as our biblical and humanitarian motives for engaging in this work. “As a Christian, it is always a privilege to speak and be a voice representing the global church to the Jewish people at their own event.”

As OFEK continues to take over many of the Jewish Agency’s activities, ICEJ will continue to develop this key partnership here in the land of Israel.