As the School Year Begins in Ukraine, Memories of A Summer in Israel Linger

ZMAN.IL 2014

By Avital Chizhik special to eJP With the arrival of a breezy autumn in Kharkov, students have begun a new school year amidst continuous tension. With the 5-month-old conflict’s death toll reaching 3,000 according to UN reports, and talks of a ceasefire, most Ukrainian high school students are returning from summers rife with anxiety and fear. But for dozens of Jewish youngsters, this summer was a rare breath of fresh air - having spent their summer in Israel. This past summer, 40 young Jews from war-torn Ukraine found necessary, if not ironic, respite in a quiet kibbutz in southern Israel - despite the conflict raging on the Gaza border. Flown to Israel for relief from Ukraine’s most dangerous regions, including Donetsk, these students were participants of ZMAN.IL, a special Jewish … [Read more...]

100 North American Olim Children Land in Israel

Ilana Barta, 23, from Teaneck, NJ, came to Israel to marry her fiance next month. Ilana has not heard from her fiance, a  Paratrooper who is currently on active duty in Gaza, since the ground operation began.

Jerusalem, July 22, 2014 - Despite the tense security situation in Israel, 228 new Olim, including 100 children, from the United States and Canada arrived at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport today as new citizens, on a Nefesh B’Nefesh Aliyah charter flight, in collaboration with the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and JNF-USA. The children included 39 girls and 61 boys. Altogether, 29 families and 54 singles joined the landmark flight, which included Olim planning to live in Israel’s south and north, as part of a joint project to settle Olim in the Negev and the Galilee. Those who are planning to live in the south also received special briefings about the security situation, such as information about trauma counseling and support … [Read more...]

The Jewish Agency Appears Marginalized in Aliyah

The Jerusalem Post has obtained a draft copy of the proposed new aliyah initiative. This according to a just published article in the paper. The draft appears to confirm a number of items previously published in the media, organizational denials non-withstanding, including: The establishment of a new corporation to be owned jointly by the four “national institutions, ” Keren Hayesod, KKL-JNF, The Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization. The initiative would initially be funded by a grant from KKL-JNF for 100 million shekel. But the bombshell, now clearly spelled out by the JPost article, is: "Under the plan, the Ministry of Aliya and Immigrant Absorption would [have] four seats on an eight person steering committee that would oversee the new corporation. The Director General of the … [Read more...]

The JAFI Aliyah Saga, cont’d

Over the past several days articles have appeared in numerous media publications, including here on eJP, focused on a new government-owned company to be established to facilitate European aliyah. Despite the first reports reaching the U.S. during Shabbat afternoon, reactions were immediate and explosive (to say the least). Following are three letters - the first from JFNA to the Prime Minister; the second from The Jewish Agency to its board; the third, a response from eJewish Philanthropy to The Jewish Agency.   June 9, 2014 The Honorable Benjamin Netanyahu Prime Minister’s Office State of Israel 3 Kaplan Street Hakirya, Jerusalem 91919 Israel Dear Mr. Prime Minister, The aliyah and rescue of Jews has been the sacred responsibility of the Jewish Agency for Israel since … [Read more...]

Gov’t Establishes Independent Company for European Aliyah

In an unprecedented move, the Government of Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption have established an independent company to encourage aliyah from Europe. The company will initially be funded with NIS 100 million. According to YNet, "After 66 years in which the issue of immigration was handled by the Jewish Agency and other bodies, the government decided to take matters into its own hands and establish an independent company to encourage aliyah. The company will not have the same restrictions applied to government-owned corporations, and it will be able to operate freely in European countries. The company will include representatives from various national institutions (KKL-JNF, the Jewish Agency and the [World] Zionist Organization) and will be subject to terms set forth … [Read more...]

A Yom Ha’atzmaut Essay from a New Olah

photo courtesy NFTY-EIE

I came to Israel and fell in love - with the people, the country, the history, and with who I am when I am here. I fell in love with Israel and fulfilled my dream to make aliyah. by Shira Kleinman I never wanted to be a teacher. I was never that kid in kindergarten who spoke longingly about a career shaping young minds. Teaching was a career that fell into my lap, and I have grown to love the job. Every so often, my high school students blow me away with amazing comments or new thoughts. With each one, I'm reminded that there is so much more to these high-schoolers, who just need the right moment to discover what’s on their mind, and to express it. Although teaching has its ups and downs, it was not until recently that I came to understand how truly lucky I am to teach in this place - … [Read more...]

19,200 New Immigrants Arrive in Israel in 2013

According to data compiled by The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israel Ministry of Immigration and Absorption, some 19,200 immigrants arrived in Israel in 2013, a modest increase from the 18,940 who arrived in 2012. According to an analysis of the data, Israel experience programs for French Jewish youth and Aliyah encouragement efforts amongst the French Jewish community have borne fruit and brought about a dramatic 63% increase in immigration from France, with the arrival of 3,120 immigrants this year, compared to 1,916 in 2012. Aliyah from Ethiopia was down 44% due to the conclusion of Operation Dove's Wings, which brought the remainder of those who have been deemed eligible to immigrate to Israel and which saw the arrival of 1,360 immigrants this year, compared to 2,432 last … [Read more...]