Preparing for a Surge in AliyahPublished on: 18.10.2021
By: Anastasiya Gooding
Over the past forty years, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has been privileged to bring home to Israel more than 160,000 Jewish immigrants from around the world, usually in partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel. This includes the 3,141 Jews we assisted with Aliyah last year, despite all the coronavirus lockdowns and travel bans. So, what can we expect in the months and years ahead?
Like other Israeli officials, JAFI chairman Isaac Herzog is very upbeat about the prospects for Jewish return to Israel in the near future. At the ICEJ’s recent Envision conference, he forecast that up to 250,000 Jewish immigrants will arrive in Israel within the next 3-to-5 years.
This surge in Aliyah is being triggered by several factors, including the corona threat, the way Israel has responded effectively to it, the spike in corona-related antisemitism, and the way many have discovered they can work remotely from home and even from a distant land. As a result, Herzog said most of the expected 250,000 new arrivals will be young adults with so-called ‘free professions’.
Herzog explained that last year there was a dramatic rise in the number of Jewish families who inquired with JAFI about immigration to Israel. The result was a 91% increase in new immigrant applications from Western countries, including a 400% jump from North America. Calls about Aliyah are up by 50% from English-speaking countries and by 70% from French-speaking countries.
“Undoubtedly, we are fulfilling biblical prophecy and the Christian world has a major role to play in bringing about the fulfilment of these prophecies”, Herzog told hundreds of pastors attending Envision online. “We are grateful to Christians who support the idea of bringing Jewish people back to their ancient homeland. And I again want to thank the International Christian Embassy for the outstanding work you are doing to help with this.”
So which countries will all these expected Jewish immigrants come from? The world’s Jewish population currently is estimated at 14.7 million. Israel is now home to over 45% of these Jews, while 90% of the remaining Jewish communities outside of Israel reside in Western countries – including the Americas, Europe, and the Commonwealth nations (Britain, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, etc.).
JAFI has specific partners assisting with Aliyah in various regions of the world, and in recent years they have looked to the Christian Embassy for help with Jewish families returning from the former Soviet republics, eastern and western Europe, Ethiopia, and Latin America. The ICEJ also has been helping to bring the Bnei Menashe tribe from India and the Kaifeng Jews from China. All of these Aliyah routes remain open for us in the year ahead.
So far in 2021, we have sponsored flights for 402 Ethiopian Jews who arrived in Israel as part of “Operation Rock of Israel.” (See related story) And there are many more waiting to finally make it to the Promised Land.
With your help, the Christian Embassy will continue to play a central role in the prophetic Ingathering of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland in the months and years ahead. A new surge of Aliyah is on the way, so please give generously to support the ICEJ’s Aliyah efforts in 2021.
Donate today at: on.icej.org/Aliyah
ICEJ Brings 302 Ethiopian Jews to Israel Despite Airport Closure
Although Ben-Gurion Airport was shut down for the first time ever, a specially chartered flight sponsored by the ICEJ was allowed to bring 302 Ethiopian Jewish immigrants home to Israel in February as part of the ‘Operation Rock of Israel’ emergency airlift. This was the ICEJ’s largest fully chartered Aliyah flight in over two decades, and it came under exceptional circumstances.
Israel’s main airport had been completely closed to prevent the entry of a new variant of the coronavirus which might undermine the government’s mass vaccination efforts. However, a special exceptions committee gave permission for the Ethiopian immigrants to come from Addis Ababa. All the Ethiopian newcomers were required to first pass corona tests and then quarantine for two weeks in Israel.
The ICEJ-chartered flight is part of an Israeli emergency airlift which aims to bring 2,000 Ethiopian Jews from a country battered by drought, locust swarms, economic hardship, coronavirus, and tribal warfare. The Christian Embassy has now sponsored flights for over 540 of these newest Ethiopian arrivals.
“This is a difficult time for everyone, but we are so grateful that these Ethiopian immigrants were granted special permission to make the journey home to Israel”, said ICEJ President Dr Jürgen Bühler. “They have endured very tough conditions in Gondar and now their dreams have come true of finally reuniting with their families in the Promised Land. And we also have many Christians worldwide to thank for making this special flight possible.”