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Global Weekly Aliyah News: August 21, 2020

Aug 21, 2020 • By Aliyah News Reporter

Isaiah 43: 5-7;“Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and gather

you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ And to the south, ‘Do not hold them

back.’ Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the ends of the earth, Everyone who is

called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I

have made.”

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Interest in Aliyah Continues to Grow Despite Difficulties

On 16 August, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin paid a visit to Ulpan Etzion, a Hebrew-language school

in Jerusalem run by the Jewish Agency. While there, he was given a briefing in front of reporters by

Agency officials, including an estimate that Israel will see approximately 250,000 new immigrants

arrive by the end of 2025. The estimate is based on past experiences that the Agency has had and

the growing interest in Aliyah among various Diaspora communities, particularly in the West.

“The waves of immigration to Israel over our history made significant contributions to the economy,

culture and society of Israel,” Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog said. “The State of Israel must

take the opportunity with both hands, to sit with the Jewish Agency and other organizations who

deal with immigration and prepare a national plan for this welcome immigration and prevent a

missed opportunity of historic proportions.”

In related news, the Jewish Agency is continuing, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, to bring

young Jewish students and professionals to Israel for year-long programs, which often lead to

participants choosing to make Aliyah.

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Economic Hardship Increasing In Israel

The Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) published a report this week demonstrating the great economic

pain and suffering in Israel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the report estimated that

over 2 million Israelis have lost income due to the pandemic, while hundreds of small and medium-

sized businesses have closed and many more have been forced to put employees on unpaid leave.

Unemployment in the Jewish State is hovering around 20%, according to the latest report by the

Central Bureau of Statistics. Food insecurity is also a growing issue for many Israeli households.

Other NGOs which focus on social welfare in Israel have recently issued reports saying that the

economic pain from this recession is likely to linger for years, with some even warning of a “lost

generation” of children who will grow up with traumatized memories of poverty and fear.

Good News and Bad News in Israel-Arab Relations

The IDF carried out retaliatory strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip this week in response to a

barrage rockets and incendiary devices sent over the border into Israel attached to helium balloons.

The incendiary devices started dozens of fires in Israel, destroying crops, buildings and vehicles. "The

terrorist organization Hamas bears responsibility for what is happening in and out of the Gaza Strip,

and will bear the consequences of terrorist acts against Israeli citizens," the IDF said.

Analysts speculated that the spike in attacks on southern Israeli communities from the Hamas-

controlled Strip were carried out on the orders of Iran as a response to the surprise news last week

of normalized relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Despite opposition to the

diplomatic move by Iran and Turkey, a large number of agreements were signed in just the past few

days between medical, transportation and manufacturing companies in both countries, including

pharmaceutical companies working on treatments for COVID-19 and other diseases.

ADL Under Attack from ‘Progressive Groups’

The Anti-Defamation League, one of the American Jewish communities flagship umbrella groups

with a long history of defending Jews and other minorities against discrimination, has found itself on

the receiving end of a campaign of exclusion by self-described “Progressive” groups which have

determined that the ADL’s defense of Israel and its work with local police forces around the US put it

outside the boundaries of socially acceptable behavior. The campaign, dubbed “Drop the ADL” has

attracted support from over 150 left-wing groups, including the Democratic Socialists of America,

the Council on American-Islamic Relations (which is the US franchise of the Muslim Brotherhood),

the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights and Jewish Voice for Peace.

Notably, some of the ADL’s long-time allies, including the NAACP and similar groups which represent

Latino-Americans and other minorities, have declined to speak up in defense of the ADL in this

situation. However, some liberal Jewish organizations have spoken out to push back against the anti-

ADL campaign.

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Analysis – What Does All His Mean?

Life is difficult for many Israelis, but it is also growing increasingly difficult for Jews in many other

countries around the world, even wealthy countries like the US, Canada, Australia, France and the

UK. Tough economic times have traditionally led to an increase in anti-Semitism and it should not

come as a surprise to anyone that this is the case in 2020 as well.

Thus, the economic hardship in Israel, combined with ever-present tensions on the border between

Israel and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, as well as the northern border with Hezbollah-controlled

Lebanon, have not dampened the interest in making Aliyah by Jewish people around the world. At

the same time, last week’s surprise announcement of normalized relations with the United Arab

Emirates, one of the wealthiest and most strategically important countries in the region, have given

hope for an economic bounce as large business deals between Israeli and UAE companies were

announced almost immediately, with many more believed to be in the pipeline. UAE business

interests, as well as its government-controlled sovereign wealth fund, are reported to be highly

interested in making large investments in Israel’s world-class high-tech sector, particularly in the

fields of water and agriculture.

Against this background, the Jewish Agencies estimate of 250,000 new immigrants coming to Israel

in the next five years makes perfect sense, and might even prove to be on the low end. The Aliyah

Return Center was founded and built for such a time as this, and we stand ready to do our part in

the housing, care, training and absorption of many new immigrants over the next few years, but we

need your help. Your prayers and financial contributions to the work of the Aliyah Return Center will

allow us to continue renovations and repair for many new buildings on our Galilee campus, giving us

an increased capacity to house new immigrants as well as providing for their needs as they begin

their new life in Israel.

Although it is not our primary focus, your financial contributions also support the economic recovery

and stability of Israel, as all of your donations are used to purchase supplies and support jobs in the

Galilee, Israel’s northern frontier region.

Aliyah News Reporter

Bringing you weekly Aliyah updates from the land.

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Aliyah Return Center is an Israel based registered non-profit organization, helping Jewish new immigrants establish roots in the land of Israel and thrive.

Email: [email protected]
Tel: +972 (50) 326-8850

Postal Address:
P.O. Box 2288
Tiberias, Israel
1410000