by: Nathan Williams, Bridges for Peace
Despite the global challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of Jewish people making aliyah (immigrating) to Israel in 2020 is set to top 50,000—almost double the figure in 2019. That figure is anticipated to double again in 2021, with predictions of 90,000 new immigrants making Israel their new permanent address.
Israeli Minister of Immigration and Absorption Pnina Tamano-Shata recently announced these predictions at a sitting of the Knesset (Parliament). Tamano-Shata, an immigrant and the first Ethiopian-born woman to hold a seat in the Knesset, is a living example of the “Israeli dream” that all immigrants strive toward.
These predictions were echoed by the chairman of the Jewish Agency, Isaac Herzog, who similarly forecasts a massive increase of 250,000 new immigrants over the next 3 to 5 years. Herzog cautions though that as a result of the current pandemic, charitable giving in the Jewish world may see a significant decrease. Organizations that help Jewish people make Aliyah, like the Jewish Agency and Keren HaYesod, rely on both public and private funding and may not be able to provide the level of assistance to immigrants as in the past. Herzog is hopeful that the Israeli government will make the necessary provisions for any shortfall to facilitate the influx of Jews from around the globe.
The regathering of the Jewish people to the land of their forefathers is confirmed in many of the prophetic writings in the Bible. Jeremiah 16:16 speaks of the Lord sending fishermen to catch the Israelites from all the nations to which they were scattered. Then, many hunters are dispatched to hunt them down “from every mountain and every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.” While the numbers may not be as significant as during the past waves of aliyah, we are witnessing a time where even far-flung exiles are indeed returning to the land of Israel.
Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed rampant anti-Semitism which is still lurking in many Western nations. This has also proved to be a motivating factor. There are always risks involved when immigrating to another country, and with unemployment already rising in Israel, many new immigrants face many challenges as they make the prophetic move to Israel. Bridges for Peace will continue to assist the Jewish people in returning to their ancient homeland and partner with immigrant communities throughout Israel, ensuring that these Jewish immigrants are given every opportunity to achieve their Israeli dream.
Photo Credit: Michio Nagata/bridgesforpeace.com
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