A few weeks ago, the Minister of Aliyah and Integration, Pnina Tameno Shete, revealed that there is a 28% unemployment among new immigrants (olim) amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

A high figure compared to the 20% unemployment rate in the general population. World Bnei Akiva, which over the decades has helped many of its alumni make Aliyah, is taking up the gauntlet and asking their alumni with businesses to recruit our olim.

Beto Edelman, for example, who made Aliyah from Brazil nine years ago and now owns an investment company in Tel Aviv and has already employed 15 olim, most of whom are from Brazil and are alumni of Bnei Akiva. Specifically during Corona, he was excited to hire another oleh from Brazil saying, “There’s a sense of purpose to it.” Roi Abecassis, the Mazkal of World Bnei Akiva said, “We understand our alumni who are olim want to help. They better understand the hardships and now how to better take care of not just the livelihood, but also the soul.”

In Israel there are about 100,000 alumni of Bnei Akiva from various countries. Every year about 500 alumni make Aliya; another 70 come for a pre-army Mechina and most of them stay to do either the army or Sherut Leumi and make Aliyah.

The current plight of our olim bothered the heads of the movement, and so they initiated the launching of a network, a site where both new and veteran olim can register with the goal that our veteran olim can connect our new olim to relevant employers.

The project, which only began about two weeks ago, already includes several hundred new olim looking for work, not all of whom are alumni of Bnei Akiva.

There are an additional 600 alumni registered, 200 of whom are business owners who have vacancies. Now that we are seeing amazing results, we are inviting even more new olim to join the venture and find themselves work, as well as continuing to reach out to our more settled alumni and asking them to help our new olim find jobs if they can.

“When the plight affecting new olim first began, we were asked by our alumni how they could help,” Roi Abecassis shared, “Older olim better understand the difficulties of Aliyah, not just in terms of livelihood, but also being away from one’s nuclear family. Older olim are attentive to both the financial pressures, but also the emotional stress of new olim.”

He then added, “We also understand that it makes it much easier for new olim to be in places that want them and to be able to present themselves in their mother tongue. By connecting them with other olim we are hoping to make finding those placements easier. The hope is that by Pesach the unemployment rate amongst olim has dropped.”