“He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (Isa. 11:12).
It was a blistering hot summer day in Israel when we gathered with 500 others in an airplane hangar in a remote corner of the Ben Gurion International Airport. Despite the sweltering heat, there was an air of expectancy. We were waiting for plane loads of Jewish immigrants to come home to Israel. The event was called “From the Four Corners of the Earth,” and new immigrants were arriving from France, Russia, Ukraine and South America. Later that same week, a plane carrying immigrants from the United States was scheduled to touch down.
Members of Knesset (parliament), high-ranking staff from the Jewish Agency and Keren Hayesod (the official fundraising organization for Israel), religious Jewish leaders as well as Christian leaders were all gathered to welcome the new Israelis home. We were told to get there early because of security, so we had about two hours before the planes arrived. A spirited musical group kept us entertained as we waited. Lively teens from the Bnei Akiva youth movement were there waving flags, dancing and singing. Suddenly we were told to go and meet a plane that had just landed. Other groups of immigrants were also bused from their respective planes to the hangar. As these new Israelis came down the steps of the plane, joyous clapping and singing greeted them. Then, together with three hundred new immigrants, we returned to the hangar for words of encouragement, amidst much happiness, laughter and rejoicing.
We received an invitation to the joyous homecoming because Bridges for Peace helped to finance the new immigrants’ aliyah (immigration to Israel). What an honor to be there for their first moments in their new homeland. At Bridges for Peace, we have a sense of awe as we partner with God to bring the Jewish people home from the four corners of the earth. I was touched to see how the leadership of Israel greeted their new citizens. There was nothing perfunctory about it. Israel welcomed them with great fervor and open arms.
The next months will be difficult ones for the new Israelis, as they begin to learn a new language, understand the unique culture of Israel and seek employment. But they will not do it alone. Israel will stand with them. Moreover, Bridges for Peace will be there to offer a helping hand to those who need it.
Today, the largest percentage of world Jewry resides in Israel, with some 6.7 million or nearly 50% calling Israel home. Each year the number increases, as Jewish people answer the call of the Lord issued through the biblical prophets to come home to Israel. The Lord said, “When I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and I am hallowed in them in the sight of many nations, then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their land, and left none of them captive any longer. And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord God” (Ezek. 39:27–29).
Thank you for being part of God’s great endeavor to bring the Jewish people home. Your prayers, encouragement and financial support make it possible for them to return to the Land and be established according to God’s plans! While we are able to assist many new immigrants as they settle into life in Israel, a good many more need our help. Please give generously to our New Immigrant Fund. We are also in need of more sponsors to provide assistance to new immigrants for a whole year. You can do so by making a one-year commitment to our Adoption Program. We invite you to partner with God today to welcome the Jewish people home from the four corners of the earth.
Blessings from Israel,
Rebecca J. Brimmer
International President and CEO
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