Debit/Credit Payment

Credit/Debit/Bank Transfer

Aliyah in a Time of War

March 11, 2024

by: Bill Adams, Senior National Representative, BFP United States and Kate Norman, BFP Staff Writer

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


“Israel is mourning. Israel is fighting. Israel is filled with hope. We are not alone, which is a new feeling, since we were alone for so long.”

–Danielle Mor, the Jewish Agency for Israel

Many might assume that immigration to Israel slowed or halted since the October 7 massacre of 1,200 people by Hamas terrorists. With 14,000 rockets raining down from Gaza, Hezbollah posing a grave threat on the northern border and markedly increased violence against Jewish residents in the heartland of Judea and Samaria, most of us would think Israel is too dangerous to visit, much less choose it as a new home. But as Yehuda Cohen, an Ethiopian Israeli immigrant serving as the Jewish Agency for Israel’s emissary to Miami, said at a conference in February, “Even though we are at war, Zion is still home, and it’s always better to be home.”

I recently had the privilege of representing Bridges for Peace at a strategic gathering of major Christian organizations in the United States aiding in the return of the Jewish people to Zion from the four corners of the earth. This miraculous return that has taken place over the past century and a half is called aliyah, Hebrew for “going up.” It is the ongoing immigration of Jews from over 100 nations as they go “up to Jerusalem” and revive the land of Israel.

A certain question was foremost among the conference participants: With war raging in Israel, are the Jews still coming home? The resounding answer? “Well, yes…of course!”

By the Numbers

This led to the follow-up question: How many are coming home? Some 6,500 new immigrants since October 7, the Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) reported in February. That is more than five times the number of precious lives lost in Hamas’s attempt at a present-day Shoah (Holocaust).

Danielle Mor, head of the Christian Friends of the Jewish Agency and a recognized authority on aliyah, provided statistics that help paint the picture of expanding aliyah in recent years.

  • 2022: Russia 44,000; Ukraine 15,000; North America 4,000; France 2,000
  • 2023: Russia 30,000; Ukraine 2,000; North America 2,500; France 1,000
  • 2024 (projected): Former Soviet Union 25,000 and 12,000 from the West

To put the most recent numbers in perspective, during the first 10 months of 2023 and throughout three subsequent months of war, 46,687 people from over 37 countries immigrated to Israel.

Mor further reported that aliyah applications to the Jewish Agency are up five times their normal amount in France and twice the norm in the US. Immigration from the former Soviet Union, already high since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, is also expected to soar in this season of exploding worldwide anti-Semitism. Even so, many applicants affirm the hope of Zionism over the fear of anti-Semitism as their primary reason for making aliyah.

In this Together

Israeli Minister of Aliyah and Integration Ofir Sofer credited the surge of aliyah with an “unprecedented feeling of solidary” with Israel since the October 7 massacre as well as a global spike in anti-Semitism since that dark day. Many of the new immigrants are young people who returned to their ancient homeland to serve in the Israeli military as well as families of soldiers who fell in battle.

“There are those who sought to uproot us from our land,” Sofer told JNS in February, only to see a homecoming to the land as a result. “At the end of the day, Israel is the national homeland of the Jewish people.”

Welcoming them Home

Recognizing this surge of Zionistic fervor in the Diaspora (the Jewish population outside Israel), Israeli planners are evaluating the absorption process and infrastructure expansion necessary to accommodate what may easily be a million new immigrants arriving in just the next few years.

Chaim Weizmann established the Jewish Agency in 1929 as a branch of the World Zionist Organization charged with facilitating immigration of Diaspora Jews and their integration with the State of Israel. Ever since 1948, the Jewish Agency has brought over three million olim (immigrants to Israel), where it provides transitional housing in absorption centers throughout the country.

To those who are familiar with Bridges for Peace’s work, the Jewish Agency’s mission sounds strikingly familiar. Our calling at Bridges for Peace is to come alongside the Jewish Agency and other Jewish organizations that are laboring to build up and strengthen Israeli society. At the aliyah conference, I was able to report that, thanks to the devoted prayer and generosity of Christians around the world, Bridges for Peace has brought home over 108,000 Jews to date, helped 10,000 annually with household needs, provide ongoing assistance to 5,000 individuals and families, feed 340 school children hot lunches daily, supply 11 tons of food monthly to 23 communities, improve 1,800 homes of the needy and much more.

There is still much work to be done, but Bridges for Peace is positioned to work alongside the Jewish Agency and its partners as a key member of God’s aliyah team. By His grace, we will accompany the olim up to Zion!

Mor came to speak to our conference as a courageous Israeli leader, hurting yet hopeful for her wounded nation. She left us moved in heart and moved to action in the work of aliyah.

Aliyah is the most beautiful word in the Hebrew vocabulary,” Mor said. “Aliyah in a time of war recalls the words of our anthem, Hatikvah [the Hope], that now, as always, our hope is not lost.”

Photo Credit: Click on photo to see credit

Latest News

Current Issue

View e-Dispatch

PDF Dispatch

Search Dispatch Articles

  • Order