New olim receiving gift bags
By Marelinke van der Riet

Despite facing a multi-front war since October 7, Israel is still welcoming a steady stream of Jews from around the world as they continue to immigrate to their biblical homeland. The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is part of this remarkable influx of Jews making Aliyah, as we have sponsored flights for more than 80 Jews coming home from Ethiopia, France and South Africa just in the last week.

The process of re-settling in Israel is already full of challenges in normal times, but even more so in a time of war. Thus, the role of absorption centers for new immigrants run by The Jewish Agency for Israel is even more crucial than usual right now.

Yeelim absorption center

Recently, an ICEJ delegation visited new immigrants we are helping to sponsor at the Yeelim absorption center in BeerSheva, which can house up to 500 olim (“newcomers”) at a time. Yeelim offers more than a place to stay, it provides a sanctuary from the storm raging not far away in Gaza. Here, the staff is committed to helping newly-arrived Jewish families make a seamless transition into Israeli life. Through a comprehensive one-year program, these immigrants are equipped with the tools necessary for success: job placement assistance, recertification opportunities, and Hebrew language instruction. For many immigrants, including a significant number of skilled doctors, these initiatives are lifelines, smoothing their path into the fabric of Israeli society.

Amid the current conflict, with many IDF reservists called up to active duty, Israel is grappling with a scarcity of skilled labor, particularly in the spheres of medicine and high-tech. Recognizing this urgent need, the ICEJ stepped in to sponsor specialized programs for new immigrants tailored to address the critical manpower shortages in these fields.

New olim at Yeelim absorption center

Dmitri Rubanov’s journey epitomizes this convergence of skill and opportunity. Having immigrated from Belarus with his family two years ago, Dmitri, a doctor, seized the chance to pivot into the realm of high-tech. His decision to remain in Israel amid upheaval underscores not only his resilience but also the profound solidarity and unity that define Israeli society.

“People here stand together, they help each other. It’s a unity I have never seen or experienced before,” Dmitri explained.

Alin Abouharon, director of the Yeelim absorption center, explained: “When new immigrants are questioned about their motivations for making Aliyah, the predominant response is, ‘We want a better future for our children.’”

Programs such as these hold significance not only for individuals but also for the nation as a whole. They play a crucial role in fortifying the foundational pillars of this country for the benefit of future generations.

Nicole Yoder handing a gift bag to Dmitri and his wife

Our visit culminated in the distribution of special “Welcome Home” gift bags to the newcomers. These thoughtful packages contained an array of sweet delicacies, spanning from jam and date honey to wine and olive oil. Notably, these gift bags were part of a generous donation of 120 packages by a Christian businessman from Singapore.

“We want to thank you for your support that will help us with our integration here in Israel,” responded Andrei Ulitin, a recent immigrant from Russia. Andrei’s heartfelt gratitude echoed the sentiments of countless other immigrants, acknowledging the indispensable role of Christian support in facilitating their integration into the Promised Land.

Indeed, the act of Aliyah it is not just about a plane ride or a geographical relocation. It involves something much deeper – Jewish families getting firmly planted back in their ancestral homeland. Just as the Lord promised: “I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.” (Jeremiah 32:41 NIV)

So, please consider a generous gift to support the ICEJ’s Aliyah efforts. Donate today at: