Global Weekly Aliyah News: July 23, 2020Jul 23, 2020 • By Aliyah News Reporter
Aliyah News Report
July 23, 2020
Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata and Finance Minister Israel Katz announced recently that NIS 80 million ($23,386,344.00) would be budgeted for the assistance of new immigrants who recently made Aliyah to Israel but who are suffering ill effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be used for direct assistance to new immigrants whose absorption into the economy has been delayed or side-tracked due to the necessity of quarantine or by a shortage of available employment. Recent estimates show approximately 28% unemployment among new immigrants, much higher than the 20% rate among the general population.
Anti-Semitism Continues Alarming Rise in the Diaspora
Social media giant Twitter, which has been criticized in the past for allowing anti-Semitic posts on its platform, was in the news again this week for locking the accounts of users who displayed a Star of David in their profile pictures, labelling the universal symbol of the Jewish People “hateful imagery.” The Campaign Against Antisemitism brought the phenomenon to light this week, posting screen captures of warnings from Twitter to users that the display of the Star of David “violated the Twitter Rules. Specifically for: Violating our rules against posting hateful imagery.”
The reports came just a few days after former New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly told Matthew Bronfman, chair of the International Steering Committee of Limmud FSU during an online interview that the unstable social and economic situation in the US, coupled with a decline in the respect for police officers amid the general public, meant that American Jews needed to start doing more to protect themselves from physical violence and threats.
Border Clashes Between Azerbaijan and Armenia Threaten Israel’s Energy Supply
Azerbaijan, the majority Moslem country in the Caucuses region of central Asia which supplies roughly 40% of Israel’s petroleum, has seen a flair up this week in its chronic dispute with neighbouring Armenia. The two nations, whose ancients feud was kept under tight control when they were both part of the USSR, have seen a fierce string of bloody clashes and simmering tensions since their independence from the disintegrating USSR in 1991.
With tensions breaking out into fresh violence this week and both sides on high alert, Elin Suleymanov, Azerbaijani ambassador to the US, told the Jerusalem Post that several pipelines, including the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzrum gas pipeline, run near the border region where the clashes have occurred, raising the possibility that they will need to be shut down in the near future. The Southern Gas Corridor, which is meant to supply Central Asian natural gas to the European market, is also under construction in the region, leading some analysts to speculate that Russia and Iran have pushed Armenia to cause trouble with Azerbaijan as a way to preserve their share of the European markets.
Protesters Demand Government Provide Economic Relief
Protesters have been gathering regularly in front of the Prime Minster’s residence in Jerusalem’s Rehavia district in recent days, demanding that action be taken to relieve the economic distress which has come in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government’s measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 have had the unhappy side effect of putting over 1 million people out of work while hundreds of businesses have had to close up. Despite the efforts of the government, Israel is experiencing a difficult second wave of the virus, with 1,977 people testing positive for the disease on Tuesday, bringing the total number to over 31,000 active cases as officials from the healthcare sector warning that hospitals and clinics are on the brink of becoming overwhelmed.
Analysis – What does all this mean?
The economic, political and social tension in Israel is high and rising fast. Unemployment is at historic highs and people are becoming desperate, blaming the government for not addressing their needs and/or solving their problems. A reduction in oil imports during such a fragile moment would add another problem to an already long list that the Israeli government is struggling to grapple with. On top of everything else, the rate of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths continues to rise.
Despite that, new immigrants continue to arrive and will continue to arrive in greater numbers in the coming months and years. The rise of anti-Semitism around the world and the attendant rise in the level of physical danger for Jewish communities will make that inevitable, despite the problems in Israel.
However, the government’s ability to absorb all these new immigrants will continue to be challenged by the many other issues that require its attention and resources, making private initiatives like the Aliyah Return Center all the more important. Please help us do our part to assist the Israeli government in shouldering this vitally important effort of aiding Jews as they take their first steps in returning to their ancestral homeland.
Isaiah 49:22; Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations and set up My standard to the peoples; And they will bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters will be carried on their shoulders.
Aliyah News Reporter
Bringing you weekly Aliyah updates from the land.