IFCJ Ups The Aliyah Game

pokerThe International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) will dramatically increase its efforts to bring more olim to Israel from the Former Soviet Union and countries in crisis across the world. The project will be led by former Director General of Aliyah and Absorption at The Jewish Agency, Eli Cohen, who will join The Fellowship as Vice President for Immigration and Absorption. Cohen served in a series of senior positions at The Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization and is finishing his term as Deputy CEO of Mekorot, Israel’s National Water Carrier. Cohen will initially be tasked to build a strategic plan for aliyah and absorption.

The Fellowship, led by its Founder and President Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, has long supported immigration and absorption (aliyah and klita) in Israel and over the years has contributed over $150 million to help fill those needs. Until now that assistance has been done through partner organizations, in particular The Jewish Agency where Rabbi Eckstein served as the Chairperson of the Aliyah Committee and a member of the Executive Board.

Over the past year The Fellowship has assisted Jews from the Ukraine who wished to make aliyah, paid for flights for thousands of new immigrants and funded half of the project to bring tens of Ethiopian Jews to Israel. The Fellowship has made a strategic decision to enhance its work both in assisting aliyah to Israel and in the absorption of new immigrants through cooperation with the government and organizations active in the field.

In discussing The Fellowship’s new plans, Rabbi Eckstein told eJP, “I view increasing the number of new immigrants to Israel as a Zionist project and as a central pillar of the work of The Fellowship to support Israeli society and assist Jews in need of help across the world. From our work with Jewish communities we see both a need and a desire to move to Israel, especially from the Former Soviet Union. Jews are yearning to fulfill their dream to make aliyah but they need appropriate socio-economic support to make that a reality and we intend to provide that for them from preparation for aliyah until their successful absorption in Israel.”