Unlike immigration to other countries, olim to Israel are welcomed as long-lost brothers, educated and housed at great public expense. A combination of coronavirus and anti-Semitism is creating conditions expected to bring millions of Jews home. But the Israeli government, already stretched to the limit, is concerned they may not be able to fulfill the prophecy in the proper manner.
The Knesset’s Immigration, Absorption, and Diaspora Affairs Committee met last Wednesday to discuss a major dilemma: Jewish immigration is expected to double nest year but budgetary constraints will make it difficult, if not impossible to absorb them into Israeli society.
Earlier this month, Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog reported to the committee that an estimated 250,000 people, mostly young people, will immigrate to Israel within the next three to five years. Herzog added that the number of people who have contacted the Jewish Agency about Aliyah from English-speaking countries has increased by 50%, and by 70% from French-speaking countries.
Israel could receive as many as 90,000 new immigrants in 2021 – nearly three times the number of immigrants in 2019.
Jewish Agency CEO Amira Ahronoviz presented the official Aliyah statistics for 2019: 35,000 immigrants, including 24,651 from the Commonwealth of Independent States; 3,963 from European countries; 3,539 from North America; 1,746 from Latin America; 663 from Ethiopia; 442 from South Africa; 318 from Turkey and other Middle Eastern countries; and 189 from Australia and New Zealand. In 2009, only 16,000 people made Aliyah.
MK David Bitan (Likud) emphasized that Israel must prepare for a large wave of immigration in the next year and a half due to the fact that large Jewish communities overseas have seen a significant number of corona-related deaths, alongside the rising anti-Semitism around the world.
Rabbi Jeremy Gimpel, founder of the Land of Israel Fellowship Program, noted that immigration to Israel embodies the prophecy as described by Jeremiah.
Lo, I am sending for many fishermen —declares Hashem— And they shall haul them out; And after that I will send for many hunters, And they shall hunt them Out of every mountain and out of every hill And out of the clefts of the rocks. Jeremiah 16:16
“The prophet Jeremiah speaks of two stages of the ingathering of the Jewish People back to the land of Israel,” Rabbi Gimpel told Breaking Israel News, noting that we are clearly entering a new stage of this prophecy. “Looking at history, it seems as though country by country, the exile is being shut down. From Arab countries, Ethiopia, Russia, France, and the rest of Europe… Now America is being shaken. It seems to be a new part of this larger process of return.”
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