Urgent Appeal to support Youth Aliyah rescue operationPublished on: 26.9.2023
By: A. Howard Flower, ICEJ Aliyah Director
The pace of Aliyah has exceeded 40,000 new Jewish immigrants to Israel so far this year, with over 80% coming from former Soviet republics severely impacted by the war in Ukraine. Youth Aliyah is also very strong right now and this autumn a record number of young Jews will be getting ready to fly to Israel, but they need our help to make it here.
The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has just received an urgent appeal on their behalf from Danielle Mor of The Jewish Agency For Israel, our main partner in our Aliyah operations.
Danielle’s message said: “We are in the midst of bringing to Israel some 600 Jewish teens – boys and girls from ages 14 to 20 – who are coming to Israel from all across the former Soviet Union. We have the ability to do so through our Naale and SELA programs for aspiring students. Through these programs, these brave teens are leaving everything behind; leaving their home, their family, their parents, their siblings, everything that they know and trust, and setting out on a courageous journey to come to Israel on their own.”
“Friends at ICEJ, we need your help to be able to do this,” Danielle added. “We need your help to facilitate their visas, their preparation, their coming on buses and trains and internal flights all the way from across Russia, crossing the border from Ukraine into neighboring countries, coming on flights to Israel. All this is going to happen in the next few weeks and we really need your support at this time. Once in Israel, they will be placed in schools and boarding schools and villages, where they will be cared for over a period of between eight months to three years, depending on their age and needs. At the end of this, they will be poised to become new citizens of the State of Israel and join the IDF as lone soldiers to serve and study in Israel’s universities.”
Youth Aliyah programs have proven to be a huge success over the years in bringing Jewish children to Israel ahead of their parents, as it is easier for the youngsters to learn a new language and adjust to new surroundings, and then help their parents integrate once they arrive. It has been a great blessing for the Christian Embassy to support these unique and highly effective Aliyah programs over the years. The next group coming on Youth Aliyah will be SELA students ages 17-19 who will begin their preparations to enter universities in Israel this October.
SELA is an educational live-in program for Jewish high school graduates who are looking to pursue a highly respected international education, take lessons in Hebrew and other languages, engage with Israeli society and culture, meet new friends, and experience life in Israel. By the end of the eighth month, all program graduates will receive an Israeli identity card.
The SELA program offers prospective students an intensive Hebrew class, as well as English, mathematics, extracurricular activities, and a preparatory course to pass the exam for admission to an Israeli university.
The war in Ukraine has had a significant impact on young people in the countries of the former Soviet Union. According to a United Nations report, since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine more than four million people have fled the country, with two million of them being children. The war also has disrupted education for more than five million children in Ukraine alone, with thousands of schools, pre-schools, and other educational facilities being damaged or destroyed due to the use of explosive weapons in the war. As classes resume this month, many schools are operating in underground bomb shelters, metro stations and other safe locations.
The entire region of the former Soviet Union has been affected, explained Danielle Mor, and children from Jewish families are coming from all over, especially Russia and Ukraine, plus Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Georgia and more.
“ICEJ has been dearly supporting our work during the war still raging in Ukraine, and the threat of living under terror and conscription into the army in Russia,” she said. “There is now even a conflict near Russia between Azerbaijan and Armenia, so at this time we are seeing an urgent need to rescue these Jewish children and bring them home to Israel.”
Please help us to step forward at this time and assist with this urgent Youth Aliyah rescue operation.
Make your best gift today at: give.icej.org/aliyah