Photo Credit: Eli Mandelbaum for The Jewish Agency. Eli Mandelbaum for The Jewish Agency.
Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog with Olim siblings from Brazil

1,500 new Olim (immigrants) who made Aliyah since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic will start school in Israel on September 1.

The Jewish Agency for Israel helped these families move to Israel and established a situation room to ensure their arrival before the start of the school year. These new Olim arrived between early March and the end of August from about 30 countries.

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Despite the severe impact of the Coronavirus crisis on the ability to move freely between countries, The Jewish Agency succeeded in enabling these Olim to fulfill their dream of Aliyah. In compliance with Israel’s Ministry of Health guidelines and other regulations, all families were required to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival, after which they were prepared for their integration into Israeli schools.

Most of the Olim who will begin their first year of school in Israel this week are children and teenagers, aged 6 to 17 years old, who will be integrated into elementary schools, middle schools and high schools across the country. A few hundred more are children aged three and up who will begin preschool.

At Jewish Agency absorption centers throughout Israel, children were prepared for their inaugural year of school, where they acquired school supplies and tablets for distance learning.

On Sunday, Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog met with some of the children who arrived at the height of the COVID-19 crisis in Israel and gave them some study tips and advice on making new friends, telling them: “You left the places you knew and came home to Israel. You made Aliyah at a time when it was almost impossible to move about the world. We extend our love and best wishes for a successful new school year here in Israel, as Israelis. I hope your adjustment to your new schools will be smooth and filled with new friends and learning.”

Since the beginning of March, these Olim arrived from countries around the world, including: Russia, Ukraine, Ethiopia, the United States, France, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Spain, the Czech Republic, India, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Hong Kong.

“I’m happy to be here. I’m excited to start school, but a bit afraid of the Hebrew,” said Dmir Gasimov, a 9-year-old who made Aliyah from Ukraine. “But it’s fun to be in Israel, there’s a beach and I have the exact backpack that I wanted.”

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