Immigrants from Ukraine
Immigrants from UkraineNegev Malasa

It is no secret that Diaspora Jewry finds itself in an increasingly precarious situation. The Corona epidemic and the war in the Ukraine, with its effect on the Jews there and in neighboring Russia, are recent ongoing examples.

In America, the turmoil of social instability caused by the Woke movement has given rise to a dramatic increase in anti-Semitism and attacks against Jews. In Europe, the leaders of Jewish organizations report that governments are not doing enough to quell a swelling animosity toward the Jewish community. And just about everywhere assimilation is on the increase with no solution in sight.

A group of people in Israel believe that a mass campaign to encourage Aliyah is the answer, but to bring about such a revolution they claim that the Government of Israel must meet the challenge by making Aliyah a Number One national priority. To catalyze this change, grass-root Aliyah activists have organized an open meeting which they bill as the “Emergency Aliyah Conference” to be held on Sunday, September 4, at the Hibba Center in Jerusalem between the hours of 4-9pm.

During the first part of the gathering, selected speakers will describe what is happening today in the various areas of Aliyah activity. Then an open forum will be held during which conference attendees can freely express their constructive ideas and complaints. This will be followed by a working session with the goal of formulating the proposals which will be presented to the appropriate authorities. Israel National News spoke to some of the people involved to learn more about the initiative.

Joshua Wander founded the “Bring Them Home” website which encourages Aliyah from a Torah perspective. He will be moderating the conference which includes:

  • a variety of speakers on a gamut of Aliyah themes
  • a public forum where participants can voice their opinions and ideas
  • a joint session designed to formulate a sweeping proposal to be submitted to the Government of Israel and the various Aliyah and Klita agencies working in the field.

“An Aliyah conference is an essential step in coalescing the dozens of Aliyah initiatives which all strive to bring the Jewish People back to their homeland,” Wander says. “To that end, we are calling on representatives of all Aliyah-related organizations to come together in order to figure out how we can better work together to help finally end this long and bitter exile.”

Former Prisoner of Zion, Rabbi Yosef Mendelevich, is on the group’s Board of Advisors. He has a list of suggestions regarding changes which Israel must initiate to dramatically increase aliyah. “A major and immediate necessity is to build olim communities, cities and settlements designed to meet the needs of the wave of olim who will be coming, please G-d, from different countries across the globe. Communities where their culture, language, cuisine, and social interaction is available for them in a friendly familiar atmosphere. At the same time, courses should be offered to Israelis on how they can best welcome and aid the newcomers in a brotherly fashion. Each new oleh should be assigned a personal klita counselor to help with all problems. Also, the requirements for job placement should be eased, such as for doctors and other professionals, while special oleh employment agencies need to be established to help the oleh find suitable work. Children also require the same one-to-one connection regarding schooling, social activities, and any adjustment problems which may arise. Already Hebrew courses should be offered in Jewish communities throughout the world to help prepare people for the jolting language change which all new immigrants encounter. The use of “Hachshara” preparation groups can be re-established in each community and led by longtime olim with focus on Hebrew, relevant occupation seminars and the like.”

Tzvi Fishman, one of the organizers of the Emergency Aliyah Conference, says he would like to enlist Chabad in any new campaign to promote greater Aliyah. “The Lubavitch organization has the infrastructure already in place with Chabad Houses and Chabad shlichim all over the world. They could easily add the mitzvah of living in Eretz Yisrael to the dedicated outreach work that they do. Programs of Jewish Identity are great but the fact is that assimilation continues to skyrocket. In light of the spiritual and physical dangers which Jews face today throughout the Diaspora, Chabad could save thousands and thousands by playing a more active role in encouraging Aliyah.”

Jean Vercors works on the grass-roots level to promote Aliyah from France. He cites a letter which he and HaRav Yosef Zini of Ashdod wrote to the heads of the Jewish Agency a few years back with the urgent appeal to help French Jews immigrate to Israel. “Shall we turn our backs to the danger faced by our brothers? France has a Jewish population estimated at 460,000. Acts of violent anti-Semitism have dramatically increased. The plight of French Jews is very serious, especially in areas where the Muslim population has quadrupled and more. Saving them is an opportunity that the State of Israel is about to miss because it is not ready to absorb immigrants from France and has not defined a designated strategic plan." Expressing regret that the appeal was never answered, he hopes that he can enlist support for his efforts at the upcoming Aliyah conference.

Meir Indor, who founded the very successful Volunteers for Israel/Sarel project with the late Rabbi Yehuda Hazani, is also on the conference committee’s advisory board. “While I applaud the idea to unify all grass-roots forces in an effort to turn Aliyah into a national undertaking, we can’t be naïve and think that the existing official bodies will be happy to hear the proposals and jump to fulfill the demands. It takes a massive amount of lobbying, stick-to-itiveness, and public support to alter government policy and bring about meaningful change. However, in the wake of the current instability of Jewish Life in the Diaspora, we have to be prepared for the worst scenarios, and we have to start now.”

Readers interested in learning more about the upcoming conference can contact Yehudis Schamroth on WhatsApp: +972-54-591-6673.