Sofa Landver
Sofa Landver צילום: מרים אלסטר - פלאש 90

Israel will celebrate its first annual 'Aliyah Day' Tuesday. The event will begin with a special ceremony which will be attended by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, and Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver.

The purpose of Aliyah Day is to educate Israelis about the importance of aliyah (Jewish immigration to Israel from other countries).

Sofa Landver spoke with Arutz Sheva about the state of aliyah today, and how Israel is preparing to absorb immigrants from a diverse array of countries, including the Ukraine, France, and Belgium, among others.

Landver notes at the start that the role of the Ministry of Immigrant absorption is not only to handle and aid people who have already decided to make aliyah. It also includes encouraging Jews around the world to make Israel their home.

"It's a long process. We give a lot of help (to the immigrant) even before he arrives in Israel. We help him collect his belongings, with learning Hebrew, and we provide him with the documents necessary for absorption in Israel." Landver says.

Landver said that the ministry's emphasis on expanding the wave of immigration resulted in 10,000 more Jews making aliyah. When we asked if it was possible to say explicitly to all the Jews in the world that their place is in Israel, or if Israel only provides formal assistance those those who wish to make aliyah, she replied that today things are said explicitly. "We can say that there is no better place than Israel,even with all its difficulties.

According to Landver, the most difficult step in making aliyah is the decision to leave one's country of birth in the first place. "It's not easy." she said, citing her own personal experience.

"The immigrant should decide to come, not because of anti-Semitism, or terrorism, or the difficulties of (living in) exile, but because he wants to build his future in our country. Therefore, the immigrant also has o take part (in the process). We made reforms. We did things to help him with the absorption process, like teaching him the Hebrew language, and providing access to educational institutions and scholarships to students. But every immigrant has to take what the state gives him and makes something of it himself."

We also asked Landver about the complaints, mostly from French Jewish communities, about degrees obtained in foreign universities not being recognized in Israel, forcing professionals to relearn their own professions before being able to find work in Israel.

"I don't have exclusive control of immigrant absorption." she said, before bringing the subject back to Aliyah Day. "Aliyah Day is a holiday for all of us. It is relevant for the entire country. In the schools and the universities we will celebrate this day."