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Christian Embassy brings 65 South African Jews home to Israel

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David R. Parsons | ARTICLE | 17-12-2021

On Thursday (16/12/21), the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem sponsored a rescue flight for 65 South African Jews who were allowed to make Aliyah to Israel even amid the current tight travel restrictions. The flight tickets were funded through a special donation of the ICEJ-South Africa branch, and marked our second emergency Aliyah flight for South Africa Jews this year, following a group of 87 immigrants who landed in July in the wake of nationwide riots and looting.

This latest flight caps an outstanding year for the ICEJ’s Aliyah and Absorption efforts, as we have assisted nearly 4,000 new Jewish immigrants from over 20 countries worldwide in moving to Israel, including our sponsorship of Aliyah flights for over 1,500 olim (newcomers) from all around the world. These figures represent about 13% of the estimated 27,000 Jews who immigrated to Israel this year, and it also means that the ICEJ helped on average about 10 Jews per day move to Israel in 2021.

Among the highlights of our Aliyah activities this year, on the very first day of January 2021 the ICEJ helped fund a flight of 300 Ethiopian Jews who arrived as part of “Operation Rock of Israel.” The urgent airlift brought a total of 2,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel over a four-month period, and the Christian Embassy sponsored flights for more than 500 of these new arrivals. One of the passengers on the plane was a young Ethiopian boy who immediately underwent live-saving heart surgery for a congenital heart defect.

In March, a group of 226 Jewish immigrants from across the former Soviet Union landed at the re-opened Ben-Gurion Airport on a ‘rescue flight’ arranged by The Jewish Agency for Israel and sponsored by the Christian Embassy.

In April, the Christian Embassy funded a special Aliyah evacuation flight from Kazakhstan with 102 Jewish immigrants on board.

In May, the ICEJ welcomed some 250 Jewish immigrants from a dozen countries who were part of a special ‘Aliyah Super Week’ arranged by JAFI just days after the latest Gaza rocket war ended.

Other Jewish immigrants arrived on ICEJ-sponsored Aliyah flights over the summer, including 32 immigrants from France in June, plus 87 from South Africa and 30 from the USA and Canada in July.

In October, the ICEJ provided Aliyah flights for 105 young Jewish students from the former Soviet republics who were part of the Naale and Sela programs offered by the Jewish Agency.

In addition, this year the ICEJ also assisted with several large Aliyah flights bringing 212 members of the Bnei Menashe community from northeast India, in conjunction with JAFI and Shavei Israel.

Meantime, the ICEJ provided assistance to more than 2,000 other Jewish immigrants this year at the pre-Aliyah and Absorption phases. Our assistance with pre-Aliyah preparations included sponsoring summer youth camps, Aliyah Weekends, Hebrew classes, connecting flights, and transportation to airports. After arrival, the ICEJ helped many of these new immigrants with quarantine costs, scholarships for students, certification classes for professional licenses, home computers for remote learning, furnishings for apartments, and many other means of assistance.

Overall in 2021, the ICEJ helped to bring new Jewish immigrants from Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, India, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and several other countries.

Looking ahead to 2022, the Christian Embassy is currently poised to help with the urgent airlift of 3,000 Ethiopian Jews out of war-torn Ethiopia, according to the plan recently approved by the Israeli cabinet. Please consider a generous gift to help with this historic and humanitarian operation to airlift Ethiopian Jews out of danger and reunite them with their families already in Israel.

ICEJ Canada is involved with a vital absorption project, providing professional mentors to personally assist new Jewish Olim (immigrants) from many different countries acclimatize to their new home and community…
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David R. Parsons
ICEJ Vice President and Senior Spokesman