Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday told an audience celebrating Aliyah Day in Jerusalem that “we are closing fast on the historic moment when the majority of the Jewish nation will be living in Israel.” The PM added, “I think this is the only way to secure the Jewish State.”
Netanyahu noted that Aliyah continues to be a key factor determining Israel’s destiny. He pointed out two fundamental reasons for Aliyah: the growing anti-Semitism in several countries, and, most important, “the Zionist fervor.” He promised that his government will utilize all its offices to bolster Aliyah.
The Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs held a festive meeting to mark Aliyah Day, attended by new immigrants, immigration activists, MKs and senior officials from the Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigration Absorption.
Committee Chairman Avraham Neguise (Likud), one of the initiators of the Aliyah Day Law, said that this day “emphasizes the oxygen of the State of Israel — the new immigrants — Jews who were motivated by the Zionist and biblical forces to return to their native land.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said, “Today, the 7th of Cheshvan, it is appropriate to speak about making Aliyah to Israel, because today we begin asking for rain of blessing, and such are the immigration waves to Israel, which bring a special blessing with them. Without the immigrants – we would not have a state, and therefore each day in Israel is ‘Aliyah Day.'”
Edelstein stressed that “we should establish a powerful, just and welcoming society which creates hope for the future,” and as a result “we will receive more and more immigrants, who will have many more opportunities.”
Minister of Immigration Absorption Sofa Landver said, “Immigrants continue to arrive each day, and the Zionist vision and dream are fulfilled each day, with the same enthusiasm. We should salute the strength and courage to leave everything behind and make Aliyah to Israel, despite the absorption difficulties and the language barrier.”
Noting that “nearly every person in Israel is an immigrant, or an offspring of one,” Lanver said that “we must strengthen our hospitality, and allow them the feeling of coming home.”
Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said he still enjoys going to the airport and seeing the new immigrants step off the plane. “Thousands of generations have prayed that at least their children will come to Jerusalem – and here these prayers are answered,” he said. He added that “the absolute majority of immigrants do so out of free will, as they are faced with many opportunities – and still choose to come here, and this is a great victory for Zionism.”
Sharansky added, tongue-in-cheek, “We cannot forget our partnership with the world’s Jews – we cannot give up on any Jew, even if they are not ‘Orthodox.'”
MK Yehiel Hilik Bar (Zionist Camp), also one of the initiators of the Aliyah Day Law, said, “We tend to take immigration and Aliyah for granted, and so we are marking this day is in order to stress that it is not taken for granted, and that Aliyah has been achieved through hard work, self-sacrifice, loss of human lives, and through endless behind-the-scenes efforts.”
Former director general of the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigration Absorption, MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beitenu), said emotionally, “The prayer and hope of ‘next year in Jerusalem’ is fulfilled in front of our eyes.”
The Knesset also held a special plenary session in honor of Aliyah Day.