Aliyah – On The Rise!

Ethiopians make Aliyah to Israel in 2024

By ICEJ writers

In spite of the war, requests to make Aliyah has increased as antisemitism ‘hunts out’ Jews from once safe havens.

South Africa

Before they departed South Africa in March, a Jewish Agency representative met Vivienne Myburg, National Director of the ICEJ S A Branch and the immigrant families, and offered a traditional prayer for the occasion in Hebrew, which stated in part: “I thank the Almighty and merciful God that He gave me the opportunity to live in His Holy Land that gives me the privilege to be pure and Jewish. Thank You, Lord, that out of all of the tribes of the earth, this Land was given to our people, and that out of all the lands of the earth, that this one was chosen. As the Lord has chosen this ground and has wedded Himself to it, so shall we dedicate ourselves to this land.”

South Africans make Aliyah to Israel in 2024
South Africans make Aliyah to Israel in 2024

Today, the Jewish community numbers around 50,000 to 70,000 in South Africa, which is often referred to as the “Rainbow Nation” due to its diverse, multicultural society. But there has been an increase in Jews leaving the country for Israel and elsewhere over recent decades, due to economic downturns and the high crime rates in the post-apartheid era.

The most recent Aliyah flight from South Africa is the first of many expected over coming months, as the country also is being rocked by the wave of antisemitism sweeping the globe due to Israel’s war against Hamas terrorism in Gaza. Since the Hamas massacres of October 7, there has been an upswing in antisemitic rhetoric and incidents throughout South Africa, spurred in part by the ANC-led government’s decision to charge Israel with genocide in the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Ethiopian Jewry

For a group of 61 Ethiopian Jews, their long-awaited dreams of reaching the Promised Land finally came true in early April, thanks to Aliyah flights sponsored by the ICEJ. They were doubly excited to be reunited with family members who already made the journey home to Israel during earlier waves of Ethiopian Aliyah.

Ethiopians make Aliyah to Israel in 2024

In August last year, there was a serious outbreak of violence and armed clashes among rival tribes in the Ethiopian region of Gondar, where many of the remaining Jews in the country still live. The situation quickly became critical, with streets blocked and basic necessities like food, water and electricity in short supply.

Ethiopian olim rescued from Gondar

In consultation with the Israeli government, the Jewish Agency For Israel acted swiftly in arranging a rescue effort to bring 200 Jews out of Gondar and transport them to Addis Ababa, where JAFI could take care of them. At the time, 61 of these Ethiopian Jews had already been approved to make Aliyah to Israel, but they needed to wait for their necessary travel documents.

In the meantime, the Jewish Agency approached the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem with a request for assistance to support the 61 Jews with their Aliyah flights and integration costs once in Israel. The ICEJ quickly affirmed our commitment to help them, and last Thursday (28 March), this special group of Ethiopian Jewish immigrants finally made their journey home.

Russia and Ukraine

French Aliyah

Faced with the alarming surge in antisemitism, the Jewish Agency has especially called upon the Christian Embassy to assist Jewish families from both Russia and Ukraine who are now war refugees in other parts of Europe. Many Jewish families from Russia and Ukraine have fled to Europe for safety, starting in 2014. The escalation of the war in Ukraine has increased the danger and the number of refugees. In addition, the growing wave of antisemitism has produced new perils for these Jewish families.

Additionally, ICEJ has been supporting Aliyah seminars and summer and winter camps in the Baltic states for over a decade, helping to prepare young East European Jews for their move to Israel. With our help, a new group of camp counsellors is being trained to start working with Jewish children at the summer and winter camps in the Baltic region in coming months. Besides passing on these Jewish traditions, the counsellors also will teach other youths about Jewish history, the Holocaust, antisemitism then-and-now, strengthening Jewish identity, and the importance of Eretz Israel as their ancestral homeland and only true safe haven for Jews today.

Join with us as we continue to bring more Jewish families home to Israel from all over the world, many as part of urgent rescue missions. By financially supporting the ICEJ’s Aliyah efforts at this critical time, you are answering the summons of Scripture for Gentiles to get involved in the great prophetic Ingathering of Israel (Isaiah 49:22-23).

For months now, the plight of the hostages and the loss of so many loved ones have been like a heavy cloud hanging over Israel. This sombre mood has only been compounded by the sight of tens of thousands marching in the streets of Western cities in brazen displays of antisemitic fervour. Read more about the significance of the growing antisemitism that is driving Jews back to Israel.

ICEJ continue their care for new immigrants after their arrival.

Photos courtesy of ICEJ International.

Share this post

Feast of Tabernacles 2024

Expressions of Interest

Please enter your details below to register your interest for our Australian Feast of Tabernacles 2024 Tour. We will be in touch when registrations are open.