ICEJ Assisting with Aliyah Surge from Russia and Ethiopia
By: Chris Chambers, ICEJ Staff
Russian Aliyah is still booming, despite reports that the doors are closing.
According to the latest figures from Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, over 52,000 Jewish immigrants arrived in Israel between January and September this year. This is the highest number of newcomers since the late 1990s, when the huge wave of Soviet Aliyah began to taper off.
Of this year’s new arrivals, 50% have come from Russia, followed by Ukraine with 26%, USA 5%, France 3%, and Ethiopia 3%, with remainder arriving from other countries.
The Aliyah from Russia remains high despite the increased scrutiny which The Jewish Agency for Israel is facing from authorities in Moscow. The court hearings involving JAFI have been repeatedly postponed, in a positive sign that concerns over the storage and sharing of personal information of Russian citizens are being resolved. On October 19, the court in Moscow granted another two-month continuance to the Jewish Agency in light of their willingness to address these concerns.
In the meantime, new processes have been put in place to vet immigrant applications and the ‘Marom Company’ is now in charge of registering applications and handling the Aliyah information. The good news is that the two Israeli consulates in Moscow and St Petersburg have increased their personnel and thus reduced the waiting time for an appointment from ten to two months.
Furthermore, Israel’s immigration ministry as well as the Jewish Agency are working on a “fast track” Aliyah program where documents are reviewed while abroad but the formalities continued in Israel. The Israeli government is eager to help all olim (newcomers) from Russia as they have been from war-torn Ukraine. And while Aliyah from Ukraine has slowed recently, it is expected to increase as winter approaches.
So far this year, the ICEJ has helped 3,263 Jews immigrate to Israel, including the sponsoring of flights and the provision of ground transportation for more than 1,000 immigrants from Ukraine.
Also, the Christian Embassy has assisted in several “quiet” Aliyah operations this year bringing home nearly 300 Jews from Ethiopia, with more flights expected in the final quarter of 2022. The Christian Embassy recently received a generous donation to help with the Ethiopian Aliyah, which will enable us to help a number of families reach Israel, but with your help we can do so much more.
If you would like to part of the ICEJ’s efforts to assist with the current surge in Aliyah, please consider donating on the link below.
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