Making Aliyah during the coronavirus pandemic

These are uncertain times. The Jewish Agency for Israel is here to guide you through your Aliyah during the coronavirus pandemic.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Aliyah (illustration)
Aliyah (illustration)
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The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration have formulated comprehensive emergency procedures for the immigration, absorption and accompaniment of immigrants from the moment they land in Israel: before immigrating, every immigrant will be required to promise to comply with the Israeli Ministry of Health’s instructions and will also be required to commit to the location where he/she will remain in self quarantine upon arrival. Every immigrant will be provided with personal accompaniment.

Due to the closure of community institutions and educational installations in North America, the Jewish Agency has decided to recall its gap-year Israeli emissaries (ShinShinim) to Israel for the Passover holiday. All other emissaries will continue in their mission.

A special Jewish Agency Situation Room will operate 24-hours a day – to keep in close contact with the Jewish communities, provide solutions to developing situations and provide immediate assistance to immigrants.

Jewish Agency Chairman, Isaac Herzog said: “Now is the time for mutual responsibility and social solidarity in Israel, among the Jewish people and throughout the entire world. We will take action to assist the Jewish communities around the world and to operate technological means and special programs in order to continue our ongoing activities in regions where it is not possible to work in the field.”

Please see a new video from The Jewish Agency providing updated information for new immigrants:

The Jewish Agency would like to update the public, its partners around the world, supporters and employees about the steps being taken in response to the coronavirus crisis, as follows:

1. Immigration and absorption

Immigration to Israel is continuing at a controlled and limited scale. In conjunction with the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration and in coordination with the Ministry of Health, The Jewish Agency is implementing special comprehensive emergency procedures for bringing new immigrants to Israel during the upcoming period so as to safely absorb them in Israel, in full compliance with the relevant authorities in Israel.

According to the procedures, every immigrant arriving for direct absorption will be required to sign a commitment – prior to immigrating – regarding the location where he/she will remain in quarantine immediately upon arrival in Israel and a commitment to comply with the Ministry of Health’s procedures. The procedure also states that, during the 14 days of immigrants’ quarantine, Jewish Agency professionals, along with the Ministry of Integration and absorption professionals from the local municipalities, will continue accompanying the new immigrants, mainly via remote communications, in order to assist them to the extent needed and to supply all of the new immigrants’ needs.

Under the new procedure, a special Jewish Agency Immigration Hotline will be operated in Jerusalem, which is linked to dozens of locations worldwide where The Jewish Agency operates. The hotline is staffed by multilingual professionals who provide guidance and assistance to every immigrant, even before arrival in Israel, in full compliance with the Israeli Ministry of Health’s instructions.

During this season, immigration to Israel is done mainly by individuals and families, rather than by organized groups of immigrants arriving on Aliyah flights during the summer. There are currently immigrants who have sold their homes and resigned from their jobs and who are en route to their new home in Israel. It should be noted that, among the potential immigrants, there are those who decide to stay in their home countries and to postpone their immigration until the crisis passes. The Immigration and Absorption Unit of the Jewish Agency, headed by Shay Felber, is overseeing this activity 24-hours a day.

2. Global Situation Room

In response to the coronavirus crisis, The Jewish Agency is operating a Global Situation Room, 24-hours a day, led by the CEO and Director General of The Jewish Agency, Amira Ahronoviz, and by the Chief Operating Officer, Yehuda Setton. Both are working intensely on all of The Jewish Agency’s preparations during this emergency period and are reporting directly to the Chairman of the Executive, Isaac Herzog.

The Jewish Agency’s Situation Room is maintaining close contact with Jewish communities throughout the world on formulating ways to contend with any upcoming crises and is providing immediate solutions to arising needs pertaining to The Jewish Agency’s widespread activities in Israel and around the world. In addition to the new immigration procedure, The Jewish Agency formulated comprehensive procedures to accompany the hundreds of Jewish Agency emissaries (shlichim) who are volunteering in communities throughout the Jewish world, to attend to thousands of senior citizens, including many Holocaust survivors, who are living in the organization’s Amigour assisted living facilities, and to assist visitors, volunteers and interns who are visiting Israel as part of Masa and other Israel experience programs (who arrived in Israel before the outbreak of the crisis). The Jewish Agency’s Situation Room operates in collaboration with the relevant authorities, both in Israel and internationally.

3. Activities by Emissaries (shlichim)

Due to the closures of schools and other educational facilities in the Jewish communities in North America, The Jewish Agency, in coordination with its partners, has decided to recall its gap-year Israeli emissaries (ShinShinim) in North America to Israel for the Passover holiday, since their activities, particularly within these educational institutions, are based on interpersonal get-togethers which are currently suspended.

We emphasize that all other Jewish Agency emissaries are continuing their work with the Jewish communities, in accordance with local restrictions, and will use technological means and other creative ways to fulfill their missions and to strengthen and support these communities. Ruti Mor Paz, Acting Director of Shlichim and Israel Fellows Unit, is overseeing all that pertains to emissaries, 24-hours a day.

ShinShinim will already be returning to Israel within the coming days, in order to enable them to complete the quarantine period in time to join their families at the Passover Seder table. The Jewish Agency will reassess the situation after the Passover holiday, in order to ascertain whether it will be possible for them to travel abroad and resume their routine missions safely, or whether an alternative model must be developed, whereby the ShinShinim will focus on strengthening Israeli society and assist immigrants throughout Israel – all, of course, in full compliance with instructions provided by the Ministry of Health and other relevant authorities.

During a special briefing using split screens, Chairman Herzog instructed the Jewish Agency’s emissaries stationed in dozens of countries throughout the world to continue performing their missions under the restrictions posed by the new situation, to comply with the local authorities’ instructions, and to find creative ways to connect with their communities and support them, even when direct meetings are not always possible.

“Now is the time for mutual responsibility and social solidarity in Israel, among the Jewish people and throughout the entire world. We will take action to assist the Jewish communities around the world and to operate technological means in order to continue our ongoing activities in regions where it is not possible to work in the field,” said Chairman Herzog. He added “Our prime concern is the wellbeing of the public in Israel and internationally, and it is our duty to assure the wellbeing and health of every Jewish Agency employee, including our Israeli emissaries stationed around the world, participants in our programs across the globe and in Israel, and the new immigrants making their new home in Israel.”

Every year The Jewish Agency sends thousands of Israeli emissaries to serve in Jewish communities throughout the world to strengthen our strategic relationship with global Jewry, including community emissaries, campus emissaries, emissaries to youth movements and organizations, summer camp emissaries and emissaries on their gap-year of national service. During the upcoming period, The Jewish Agency will perform a comprehensive situation assessment regarding summer camps. An update will be provided in this regard.

4. Caring for thousands of senior citizens

The Jewish Agency’s public housing company, Amigour, led by CEO Yuval Frenkel, is constantly operating to ensure the wellbeing of thousands of senior citizens residing at the many assisted living facilities it operates.

This is one of the dozens of companies that comprise The Jewish Agency’s Companies Bureau, led by the Secretary General of The Jewish Agency, Josh Schwarcz.

In Amigour’s nursing departments, where hundreds of senior citizens requiring nursing care live, restrictions on visits have been imposed, in full compliance with the Ministry of Health’s instructions, and medical equipment and food provisions have been purchased to cover the next six months. In addition, Amigour is making preparations to ensure the wellbeing of about 7,000 senior citizens, most of whom are new immigrants or Holocaust survivors, who are residing in its 57 assisted living facilities throughout Israel.

Among other things, comprehensive hygiene and disinfectant supplies have been purchased through special donations from Keren HaYesod – United Israel Appeal and from other foundations in North America, restrictions on visits have been imposed in compliance with Ministry of Health instructions, support conversations are being held with the residents and their families, and social workers have been assigned to assist them during this crisis. Amigour is also preparing to supply all needs of those senior citizens who will be forced to remain in quarantine.

The Jewish Agency leadership and its professional teams are monitoring the developments in Israel and in Jewish communities throughout the world and are updating the guidelines and procedures for Jewish Agency staff throughout the world as needed.



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