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January 24, 2017 / 26 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish Agency for Israel’

27,000 New Israelis Came Home in 2016, Down from 31,000 in 2015

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Some 27,000 immigrants arrived in Israel in 2016, according to estimates by the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, compared with 31,000 who arrived in 2015. Aliyah from Russia and Brazil rose significantly over the past year, while immigration from France and Ukraine dipped. The data released on Thursday is preliminary but offers solid indications of Aliyah trends for the past year. The final statistics will be made available mid-January, as they are every year.

Some 7,000 immigrants arrived in Israel from Russia, which topped the Aliyah chart in 2016, compared with 6,600 who arrived in 2015. Approximately 5,500 immigrants arrived from Ukraine, compared with 7,221 who came last year. An estimated 5,000 new immigrants came from France, compared with 7,900 in 2015. Aliyah from the United States hit 2,900 immigrants, compared with 3,070 last year. These four leading sources of Aliyah also led the list in 2015 and 2014, although France—which led the chart in recent years—has slipped to third place.

Aliyah from Brazil increased significantly, with the arrival of some 760 new immigrants this year, compared with 497 in 2015. 620 immigrants arrived from Belarus (compared with 600 last year), 650 from the United Kingdom (775), and 272 from South Africa (236).

Immigration to Israel has come to be characterized by youth: approximately 5,150 of the new immigrants were 17 or younger; 9,500 were between the ages of 18 and 35; 3,000 were between 36 and 45; 4,600 were between 46 and 65; and just over 3,000 were 66 or older.

Most of the new arrivals have professional backgrounds in industry, construction, and food services (some 5,000 individuals in total), high-tech and engineering (2,400), the humanities and social sciences (1,900), medical and paramedical fields (1,150), and accounting and law (1,080).

Eleven percent of the immigrants decided to make Tel Aviv their new home, while 10% moved to Jerusalem, 9% to Netanya, 8% to Haifa, 6% to Ashdod, 5% to Bat Yam, 4% to Ra’anana, 3% to Rishon LeZion, 3% to Be’er Sheva, and 3% to Ashkelon.

Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky said “the high numbers of immigrants over the past two years were due, in part, to a series of external factors that have changed or disappeared, at least for the moment. At the same time, despite the downward shift this year, we see that the long-term trends continue and the number of immigrants to Israel, particularly from Western countries, remains high compared to the averages of the past fifteen years. This is evidence of the fact that Israel continues to draw Jews from around the world seeking to live lives of meaning and identity.”

At the same time, Sharansky noted that the numbers also indicate that the State of Israel must invest more efforts in finding solutions for the swift integration and absorption of the immigrants, with an emphasis on employment, particularly recognition of professional and academic certifications.

“The Jewish Agency will continue its efforts to promote Aliyah and strengthen both Jewish identity and connections to Israel among Diaspora Jewry,” Sharansky said, pointing out that “thousands of Jewish young people from around the world came to Israel this year in order to participate in The Jewish Agency’s unique Israel experience programs, including Masa Israel Journey with nearly 12,000 participants, Onward Israel with some 1,600, and Machon Youth Leadership Training with some 430.”

“These numbers are constantly on the rise and they attest to the success of these unique frameworks in drawing dynamic, educated young people to get to know Israel firsthand and strengthening ties within the global Jewish family,” Sharansky concluded.

David Israel

Global School Twinning Network Launched by Jewish Agency for Israel

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

A new government-established Week of Strengthening the Connection to Diaspora Jewry was kicked off Tuesday night (Dec. 20) in a conversation with Jewish children and teens on three continents, together with Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky and Israeli Minister of Education and Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett.

The conversation took place in The Jewish Agency’s situation room in Jerusalem via videoconference and focused on the connection between Israel and the Jewish world.

Students from five schools were involved in the event: Golda Ochs Academy in West Orange, New Jersey; the Arthur I. Meyer Jewish Academy in Palm Beach County, Florida; the Begin Interdisciplinary School in Safed (Tzfat), Israel; the Merchavim Regional School in Merchavim, Israel; and Ulpanat Noga in Beit Shemesh, Israel — as well as campers at a Bnei Akiva summer camp in South Africa, where it is currently summertime.

The students are all connected to one another via The Jewish Agency’s Global School Twinning Network, which pairs Israeli schools with Jewish schools throughout the world. There are 650 schools currently connected through the program, touching the lives of tens of thousands of Jewish young people on six continents every year. Sharansky said that Israel and the Jewish world are attached and dependent on one another in the two great Jewish battles of our generation, the battle against assimilation for the sake of the Jewish people’s future, and the battle against delegitimization for the sake of the State of Israel’s future.

“We will prevail only if we work together, in full cooperation, and it is important that that conversation start among schoolchildren,” Sharansky said. “The Jewish Agency’s Global School Twinning Network is an initiative that I was proud to promote four years ago. It started with three schools and has grown to 650. I hope that striking growth continues until all schoolchildren in Israel and the Jewish world are connected and in dialogue with one another.” Likewise, Bennett added that he was “pleased to see the success of The Jewish Agency’s Global School Twinning Network, which strengthens connections between Israel and Diaspora Jewry.

“I am Minister of Education for Israeli students, but as Minister of Diaspora Affairs I also feel a sense of responsibility for the education of Jewish students around the world. I see great importance in strengthening the ties between all Jews in Israel and in the Diaspora. We are one big family.”

Hana Levi Julian

Return to Uganda by ‘Jewish Peace Corps’

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Project TEN — known as the “Jewish Peace Corps” — is partnering with a coalition of organizations to join a new volunteer center in Namulanda, Uganda.

The center will be run in partnership with Brit, a coalition of organizations that include the Israel Volunteer Association, Inspiration Arts for Humanity, and Brit Olam, who have been operating in Uganda for the past ten years. The center will bring together Jewish young people from Israel and around the world to engage in volunteer work with distressed populations in the area. The Uganda volunteer center is centrally located in the town of Namulanda, between the capital city of Kampala and Entebbe. The volunteers will concentrate on sustainable development and infrastructure work for communal projects in the fields of education, healthcare, agriculture, and the arts.

Among other things, the volunteers will run healthcare projects in poverty-stricken neighborhoods in Kampala and will work in elementary schools in nearby villages. They will also help create a local youth movement and develop a leadership group that will receive intensive training in technology and education. The first group of volunteers arrived at the center in September. This is Project TEN’s third volunteer center in Africa, joining the existing center in Winneba, Ghana and another new center in Durban, South Africa.

Project TEN centers also currently exist in Oaxaca, Mexico and Harduf, Israel. The Israeli center works primarily with Bedouin communities and with groups with special needs. Additional Project TEN centers are expected to be opened in Latin America and East Asia in the near future. Project TEN is based on values of service and Jewish activism, offering Jewish young people from Israel and communities around the world opportunities to volunteer in various places around the world for several months, in partnership with local organizations.

Project TEN director Yarden Zornberg notes that Project TEN centers, which sends out some 450 volunteers per year from all over the Jewish world, enable young people to combine their desire to get to know the world with their desire to take part in repairing it together with their peers worldwide.

At the end of their volunteer period, these young people return to their countries of origin strongly motivated to engage in activism in their communities and worldwide. Learn more at tenprogram.org The Jewish Agency for Israel is the largest Jewish nonprofit organization in the world. Founded in 1929, The Jewish Agency was instrumental in founding and building the State of Israel and has brought more than three million Jews home to the Jewish state.

Today the organization serves as the primary link between Israel and the Jewish world, bringing young Jews to experience life in the Jewish state and sending young Israelis to share their country with Jewish communities around the world.

The organization serves as the Jewish world’s first responder, prepared to rescue and bring Jews home to Israel from countries where they are at risk and addressing emergency situations in Israel and Jewish communities abroad. Learn more at jewishagency.org

Jewish Agency Project TEN volunteers work with schoolchildren in Uganda. Photo credit: Ofri Strasburg

Hana Levi Julian

Do you know a Jew? No?! Rent one!

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

The above headline is actually the greeting at a new German website called RentaJew.org, right below the big, capped WILLKOMMEN.

“Why ‘Rent a Jew?'” says the “About” section, explaining: “Cars can be rented, but Jews? This may initially sound offensive. After all, for hundreds of years, anti-Semites have claimed that Jews are less valuable than other people. We are tired of hearing such suggestions. And we believe that humor mixed with a bit of chutzpah is the best way to refute old stereotypes and prejudices and show how absurd they are.”

There are 250,000 Jews in Germany, but few Germans know a Jew personally, according to Rent-a Jew. They want to change that by creating encounters between Jews and non-Jews – “away from stereotypes and stereotypes.”

“With Rent a Jew it becomes possible to talk to each other instead of about one another,” argues the website, “to answer questions on both sides and to dismantle prejudices.”

An initiative launched by the Munich-based European Janusz Korczak Academy with help from the Jewish Agency for Israel, provides speakers to educational institutions or groups of any size, for school classes, adult education courses, church communities, student groups or cultural associations.

Rent a Jew provides Jews of different ages and backgrounds who are “as colorful as Judaism itself.” They are not professional speakers or experts, they are the Jews next door with their own personal stories and opinions, as well as much else, “from food to music, literature and religion” – anything goes (almost).

Rent-a Jew’s Mascha Schmerling told Deutsche Welle the new service is there ” to provoke, to promote conversation. We want to give people the chance to talk to the Jewish community. We want them to see that we’re completely normal people. We don’t want to be defined purely by history and we don’t want to always be seen through this Holocaust lens.”

JNi.Media

WZO to Open 225 Hebrew Language Centers Worldwide Next Year

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

In the coming week, emissaries of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) plan to open 11 new Hebrew language centers (ulpanim), in addition to the 220 existing facilities the group operates around the world, according to WZO Chairman Avraham Duvdevani who appeared on Tuesday before the Knesset Immigration and Absorption Committee.

Committee Chairman MK Avraham Nagosa (Likud) commended the WZO efforts, saying that “the Zionist journey is not over – as long as a single Jew is still living in the diaspora.”

Last year the WZO established 140 new Hebrew language centers, most of them in France, Argentina, and the UK.

Addressing Nagosa, who is an Ethiopian Jew, Duvdevani noted that Tuesday, Heshvan 29, was the Sigd holiday for Ethiopian Jews, when they traditionally expressed their yearning to ascend to Zion. Rooted in the verb “to worship” (lisgod, in Hebrew), Sigd commemorates two historic events in which the Jews of Ethiopia escaped annihilation by their neighbors. Duvdevani added that the WZO has been “overhauled” in the past six years, and today focuses on Jewish-Zionist education in diaspora. It employs more than 200 emissaries who teach in schools and ulpanim in Israel and abroad, fight anti-Semitism by collecting information and reactions, promotes Aliyah from Western countries as well as Zionist awareness in Israel.

According to Duvdevani, the WZO has increased its activity with Russian speaking Jews who immigrated to the West. “In this community we receive a strong response, since they seek a connection to Israel and Judasim.” The WZO is also active among some one million Israelis living in north America, for whom “we operate Jewish cultural centers, including establishing day schools for their children,” he added.

JNi.Media

700 Brazilian Jews to Make Aliyah in 2016, Triple the Annual Average

Monday, November 21st, 2016

According to data compiled by The Jewish Agency for Israel, some 700 olim from Brazil will have arrived in Israel by the end of 2016, more than three times the annual average of approximately 200. This marks a 45-year record in Brazilian Aliyah, which last reached similar levels in the 1970’s.

“The Brazilian Jewish community is a warm, Zionist community with strong ties to Israel,” said Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky, who is currently visiting Brazil to survey Jewish Agency there and meet with the local Jewish community.

“Since Israel’s establishment, more than 15,000 Brazilian Jews have immigrated to Israel, contributing to the Jewish state’s national character and strength,” Sharansky said, noting that recent years have seen an increase in the number of Jewish young people from Brazil who have arrived in Israel to participate in the Jewish Agency experience programs through Masa Israel Journey.

Sharansky participated in a festive event organized by Confederação Israelita do Brasil (CONIB, the umbrella organization of Brazilian Jewry) Saturday night in São Paulo. During the course of his visit, he will also meet with Brazilian Jews who are about to immigrate to Israel, as well as with member of Jewish youth movements.

The head of the Jewish Agency delegation in Brazil, Revital Poleg, noted that Aliyah from this country has been steadily increasing over the past three years, along with interest in life in Israel. The increase in Aliyah is taking place in the midst of an economic crisis, but is also rooted in the Brazilian Jewish community’s strong ties to Israel. “Many of the immigrants note that they view Israel as a place where they can lead Jewish lives in an environment that feels like home,” said Poleg.

According to Poleg, “some seventy percent of the immigrants are young families who want to provide their children with high-quality education, or young people looking to start university studies in Israel and build their careers there.”

According to CONIB, the Jewish community of Brazil numbers approximately 120,000 and is the second largest in Latin America, after Argentina. The largest communities are located in São Paulo (55,000), Rio de Janeiro (30,000), and Porto Alegre (10,000). Approximately 100 smaller communities are scattered throughout Brazil, which is the fifth-largest country in the world.

David Israel

President Reuven Rivlin’s eulogy at the funeral of Israel’s Ninth President Shimon Peres

Friday, September 30th, 2016

“Laugh and play with my dreams, I am the dreamer who wanders. Play because in man I will believe, and I still believe in you.” So wrote the poet Shaul Tchernichovsky, and so you played, our dear President, during the uplifting moments of elation, in times of difficulty and crisis, and with the small joys of day-to-day life, “because in man I will believe, and I still believe in you.”

I am speaking to you today for the final time Shimon, “as one President to another”, as you would say each time you called to offer strength and good advice. As I speak, my eyes search for you, our dear brother, our older brother, and you are not there. Today you are gathered to your forefathers in the land which you loved so, but your dreams remain, and your beliefs uninterred. As one man you carried an entire nation on the wings of imagination, on the wings of vision. The “Brave son”, was the pseudonym you chose as a youth, as the name of Isaiah the Prophet, a visionary. Yet, you were not only a man of vision, you were a man of deeds. Like you, I was also born into the Zionist Movement in those decisive years between vision and fulfillment. I was fortunate to look up to you as a partner in the building of the State of Israel from its very foundations. For both of us, the State of Israel could never be taken for granted. However, with much thanks to you Shimon, for our sons and daughters, for our friends – and yes for our opponents – the State of Israel is an indisputable fact.

You had the rare ability, Shimon, to conceive what seemed to be the inconceivable, and see it to fruition. Your eyes saw far ahead, while your feet covered great distances on the landscape of Jewish and Zionist history. You always walked onward and upward, as a skilled mountaineer who secures his hook before ascending ever higher to the peak. This is how you lived your life. At first you would dream, and only when in your mind’s eye could you truly see the State of Israel reaching new heights, would you then begin to climb, and take us all with you towards the new goal. You succeeded in moving even the most stubborn of politicians, and to melt away even the hardest of hearts of our opponents. You strived until your final breaths to reach the pinnacle of the Zionist dream: an independent, sovereign state, existing in peace with our neighbors. Yet you also knew that true peace could only be achieved from a position of strength, and you were sure to secure the path to this goal. Few among us understand, and much more will be written about how many mountains you moved, from the days of the State’s establishment and till today in order to ensure our security and our military qualitative edge. How deep was your belief in the sacred combination of ethical leadership and military prowess, that Israel must act not just with wisdom, but with justice, faithful at every moment to its values as a Jewish and democratic state, democratic and Jewish.

My dear Shimon, you were the only one in the history of the State of Israel to serve in the three most senior positions in government: Foreign Minister, Defense Minister, and Finance Minister. You are the only one to have served as Prime Minister and as President. It is no exaggeration to say that: more than you were blessed to be President of this great nation, this nation was blessed to have you as its President. In all these roles you were our head, but even more so, my dear friend, you were our heart; a heart that loved the people, the land, and the State. A heart which loved each and every person, a heart which cared for them.

Your stubborn faith in mankind and the good of people – in the victory of progress over ignorance, in the victory of hope over fear – was your eternal fountain of youth, thanks to which you were the eternal fountain of youth for all of us. The man of whom we thought time could never stop. With all your love for history and tremendous knowledge of history, you despised wallowing in the past, or being entrenched in a sense of self justice at the cost of the possibilities and opportunities that tomorrow brings. “The future is more important than the past” you said. “What happened yesterday does not interest me, only tomorrow does,” you would say. The love you received, which transcended political divides in the later years of your life – from your supporters and opponents – was an expression of the yearning of all us to be infected by your unequivocal optimism. Even when we did not agree with you we wanted to believe that perhaps you were right. Believe me, it was not easy to refuse your optimism, and at times your innocence.

Who more than you knew the heavy price of innocence, and yet, who more than you believed that heavier still was the price of mediocrity and being of little faith?

Shimon, I unashamedly confess, on the eve of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, at your graveside among the graves of the leaders of our nation, also your forgiveness must be asked. We will ask your forgiveness. It was permitted to disagree with you. Your opponents had a duty to express their opinion. However, there were years in which red lines were crossed between ideological disputes and words and deeds which had no place. You always acted according to what you believed with all you heart was best for the people, whom you served.

As President, you were for us an honest advocate. You taught many around the world to love the State of Israel, and you taught us to love ourselves, not to speak ill, and see the good and the beautiful in everything.

This is a sad day, Shimon, this is a sad day. The journey of your dreams which began in Vishnyeva, comes to its end in Jerusalem our capital, which is also a dream which became a reality. Your death is a great personal and national loss, as it is also the end on an era, the end of the era of giants whose lives’ stories are the stories of the Zionist movement and the State of Israel. This is our profound feeling today. A feeling of the end of an era in the nation’s life, the end of a chapter in our lives. Our farewell to you is also a farewell to us from ourselves. When we see world leaders – our friends from near and far – who have come here to bid you their final respects, we understand that not only here but across the world you will be missed. And all of us already miss you. Farewell Shimon. The man whose ‘ways are pleasant, and all of his paths peaceful’. Rest in peace, and act (in Heaven) as an honest advocate for the people of Israel whom you loved so. “Because my soul aspires for freedom, I did not sell her for a golden calf. Because I will also believe in man, in his spirit, his spirit of strength.” Farewell Mr. President.

Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/president-reuven-rivlins-eulogy-at-the-funeral-of-israels-ninth-president-shimon-peres/2016/09/30/

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