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Global Weekly Aliyah News: November 13, 2020

Nov 27, 2020 • By Aliyah News Reporter

You will arise and have compassion on Zion; For it is time to be gracious to her, for the appointed time has come. Surely Your servants take pleasure in her stones, and feel pity for her dust. So the nations will fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth, Your glory. For the Lord has built up Zion; He has appeared in His glory. He has turned His attention to the prayer of the destitute and has not despised their prayer.” Psalm 102:13-17

Aliyah News

Israel’s government approved a measure on Sunday originally proposed by Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata and designed to speed up the approval of medical licenses for new immigrants who work in the healthcare profession, including doctors, nurses, medical lab workers, pharmacists and others. Israel’s policies in this area are considered cumbersome by international standards and this has played a role in discouraging some potential immigrants from making Aliyah in the past. Amidst the international crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation has become even more urgent.

“Today I am bringing a decision to remove barriers to the employment of immigrants in the medical professions to the government for approval,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “We must strive to help immigrants integrate into the labor market in Israel, and this proposal is to realize the employment potential of new immigrants in medicine…this decision will of course also contribute to the state, and in this way will strengthen the medical practitioners in Israel – an area that is always important, but especially these days.”

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein also praised the decision, declaring “As a representative of immigrants in the past, I can remember all the directors of the Health Ministry for generations that I fought with every one of them over this thing. I feel now as if this is a historic moment in which years of injustice have been rectified. At this time, this encourages aliyah and is great news for the immigrant medical professionals. Beyond that, the State of Israel needs every doctor and every nurse and every paramedic. They will be a significant addition to the enormous tasks that lie ahead of the health care system.”

Tamano-Shata broke down the numbers, explaining that, “in the last decade, about 10,000 new immigrants with training in the medical and paramedical professions have immigrated to Israel, and every year more than 300 immigrant doctors are admitted to the health system. I am glad that the government approved the decision I initiated together with the prime minister and the health minister, as it will greatly contribute to the hundreds of new immigrants who have already arrived in Israel, encourage and expedite the immigration of thousands more, and assist the public health system in tackling the corona plague.”

Israel and the Gulf Arabs Move Closer Together

Israel’s relations with moderate Sunni countries in the Persian Gulf region have vastly improved in recent months, with formal normalization agreements being signed by the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. Other countries, chiefly Saudi Arabia, are believed to be seriously considering moving ahead with similar agreements, while a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Lord David Trimble of Northern Ireland, has nominated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.

“Pursuant to the rules of the Nobel Prize Committee, since Lord Trimble is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, his decision to submit Prime Minister Netanyahu's candidacy will lead the committee to discuss the issue,” the Prime Minister's Office said.

Netanyahu has already had his name mentioned in nominations for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize by two other parties, Italian lawmaker Paolo Grimoldi and then by Finish parliamentarian Vilhelm Junilla.

In related news, it was widely reported in Israeli and international media outlets that Netanahu and Mossad chief Yossi Cohen were in Saudi Arabia on Sunday to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The reports raised the level of speculation about the possibility that Saudi Arabia would soon announce a normalization agreement with Israel.

Reacting to the reported meetings, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh declared that “attempts to portray normalization between Israel and the Arab countries as a substitute for peace with the Palestinians is an escape from the truth.”

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri was more blunt, demanding an explanation from Saudi Arabia and calling the visit “dangerous” as it was an “insult this represents to the nation and the squandering of Palestinian rights.”

The Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group also weighed in, declaring the visit by Israeli officials to Saudi Arabia to be a “betrayal of Jerusalem, Mecca, Medina and the al-Aqsa Mosque (which) will encourage the Zionist occupation to continue its malicious aggressive policies in Palestine.”

Israel Allies Caucus Formed in Parliament of the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic, which has long had cordial relations with Israel, became the latest European Union country to form an Israel Allies Caucus in its parliament this week. The stated purpose of the Caucus, which is the 46th such group formed in national parliaments around the world, is to “support for Israel on the basis of Judeo-Christian values.”

“I am convinced that our relationship towards Israel has deep spiritual roots," said the inaugural chairman of the Czech Parliamentary Israel Allies Caucus, MP Miloslav Janulik. "I am very glad that we maintain the tradition of excellent mutual relationships and that the Czech Parliament is expressing its long-term support to the State of Israel unequivocally…this is the right path towards peaceful co-existence in the Middle East.” 

Israel Sees Light at the End of the COVID-19 Tunnel

Even amidst a slight rise in the rates of infection from COVID-19, Israel is continuing with plans to open the economy further and get more people back to work. On Tuesday, schoolchildren in grades 5 and 6 returned to class for the first time since September and students in grades 7 through 12 are scheduled to do the same by the end of next week. Shopping malls, museums and many other public spaces will soon be back in full operation.

“Principals and teachers are prepared to open the various educational institutions and, together with the health authorities, we will increase the scope of tests for students and teaching staff in order to maintain health,” Education Minister Yoav Gallant wrote on Facebook early Tuesday.

Further measures, including preparing the general public to receive COVID-19 vaccinations starting in the Spring, are scheduled to be discussed by the relevant government ministries in the coming days and weeks.
Analysis – What Does All This Mean?

The decision by the Israeli government to speed up the process for new immigrants to receive their license to work in the medical profession is very welcome, if long overdue. It will greatly enhance the quality of life in Israel as well as adding yet another “pull” factor drawing Jewish people from around the world to come home to Israel. 

Meanwhile, the Abraham Accords bringing the Jewish State closer to its Arab neighbours also has significant potential to improve Israel’s quality of life, as it lowers the security threat while vastly improving Israel’s economic prospects. The increase in trade and commerce these new agreements will allow is matched by savings Israeli companies will soon realize from lower costs on insurance, transport and many other areas. At the same time, European countries like the Czech Republic continue to see Israel as part of the solution to the problems they’re facing both at home and in the international arena. 

In other words, Israel’s future looks good, and its Arab neighbours, except perhaps the Palestinians, are eager to cooperate with Israel so that they can benefit from it.

These developments can only increase the “pull” factors drawing Jews home to Israel.

Finally, Israel’s ongoing battle with the COVID-19 coronavirus has left it in difficult financial shape but surprisingly resilient in many other areas. As of this writing the death toll from the disease is a bit more than 2,800, far lower than many other developed countries. Israel’s health care infrastructure was severely tested in 2020, but so far it has not broken and the news that safe and effective vaccines are on the way has given rise to hopes for an economic rebound by next summer.

This, again, will add to the factors motivating Jews around the world to make Aliyah (immigrate) to Israel.

The Aliyah Return Center was founded because we know that the challenges faced by new immigrants to Israel can be daunting and we want to be there to help people as they arrive and take their first steps into their new life in their ancestral homeland. We’re working to renovate several buildings on our Galilee campus in order to make them ready to house these new immigrants. Some buildings are also being renovated for use as classrooms so new immigrants can learn to speak and read Hebrew and learn other skills they’ll need to find work and otherwise become integrated into Israel.

Please partner with us as we seek to carry out this important and prophetic work.

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.

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