Ulpan Etzion, the absorption center of the Jewish Agency, is popular among young immigrants to Israel, but for a different reason than you may have thought. On Thursday of this week, another semester of Ulpan Etzion ended, during which 216 young immigrants from 40 different countries studied together. During the course of the semester, a total of 32 immigrants, who met each other for the first time at Ulpan Etzion paired off into 16 couples, according to a Ynet report on Friday.
"It was worth coming to Israel to find love here," Dana Rubel, a social worker from New Jersey, told Ynet. Rubel met her fiancée, Eitan Amzalag, a lawyer who immigrated from France, at Ulpan Etzion. Dana and Eitan became engaged three weeks after meeting each other and are currently planning their wedding which will take place in October in Jerusalem. "It was love at first sight," Dana said. "We both love each other very much, love Jerusalem where we met and love Israel."
Argentinian economist Yechezkel and English psychologist Laura also met at Ulpan Etzion. "We met in the first week of school and we've been together since," they told Ynet. "Now that we finished our studies in the ulpan, we're moving to the same neighborhood in Tel Aviv, where we'll continue to be a couple."
"Sometimes I feel like a matchmaker," director of Ulpan Etzion Ziva Avrahami said to Ynet. "I attend the weddings of ulpan graduates who immigrated to Israel from different parts of the world and met here by us. I feel like I'm a family member from the groom's side as well as the bride's side. It's a great privilege to run an absorption center where every morning you feel a sense of mission and have an opportunity to engage in meaningful work."
Hundreds of young adults, most of them single college graduates, immigrate to Israel every year through the Jewish Agency. They live at the absorption center for the first five months, while learning Hebrew, touring the country, acculturating themselves to Israeli society and eventually forging careers, and for many - marriage and families.