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ICEJ sponsors Aliyah flights for 1,000 Olim since February

57 ‘olim’ from FSU landing Tuesday on flight arranged by The Jewish Agency

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Posted on: 
16 Jun 2020
ICEJ sponsors Aliyah flights for 1,000 Olim since February

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is funding an Aliyah flight for 57 Russian-speaking Jews scheduled to arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday morning, which brings to 1,000 the total number of new Jewish immigrants the ICEJ has sponsored on flights to Israel arranged by The Jewish Agency for Israel since February, despite the Coronavirus outbreak.

These newest arrivals also needed a total of nine connecting flights, crossing some eight time zones all across the former Soviet Union, before flying in to Tel Aviv early this morning.

As global air travel has ground to a halt over recent months, many in Israel were expecting a pause in Jewish immigration due to the COVID-19 threat. But surprisingly the door of Aliyah has remained open, as interest in moving to Israel is on the rise. Many Jewish families worldwide even have decided to move up plans to immigrate to a country they view as safer and better positioned for economic recovery.

In response, Israeli and Jewish Agency officials have managed to arrange ‘evacuation flights’ over the past three months which are bringing the new immigrants home to Israel, in line with its history as a nation always open to Jewish immigration.

The Christian Embassy has supported these extraordinary efforts during the Corona crisis by funding Aliyah flights for 234 Ethiopian Jews and 766 Jews from across the former Soviet Union since February 20. This has required a total of 85 flights in all, including connecting flights for Russian-speaking olim coming from all across the vast regions of the FSU.

In addition, the ICEJ has covered many of the extra costs for making Aliyah over recent months, including two-week stays in Corona-mandated quarantine for 292 of the new immigrants once they have reached Israel.

Even with most regular international flights still suspended at this time, Israel and the Jewish Agency have been working to partner in emergency flights from nations around the world, which are bringing back stranded Israeli citizens as well as Jews from abroad who are approved for immigration to Israel.

Many of these recent Jewish arrivals are coming from regions of the former Soviet Union, where the local economies are struggling and the Corona threat is still peaking. Even travel within these countries is difficult and in some areas not even allowed. Yet Jewish families are making incredible efforts to board the flights for Israel. In several recent instances, pregnant mothers nearing term were determined to reach Israel in time to give birth in the Jewish homeland. And Israeli and Jewish Agency officials are exploring all avenues to safely funnel these people through airports even when most people are not allowed to fly.

“The Corona pandemic has brought much suffering and negative headlines all over the world, but one of the positive stories coming out of this crisis is the surprising surge in Aliyah, as many Jewish families are seeking a way to reach Israel as soon as possible”, said ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler. “We are both honored and elated to play a key role in this unique chapter in the modern-day return to Israel, as even a global pandemic could not stop Jewish people from finding their way home to Israel.”

Since its founding in September 1980, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has now assisted over 157,000 Jews in making Aliyah to Israel from dozens of countries worldwide.

Photos Courtesy of JAFI/ICEJ

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