Aliyah – largest number in 30 years

September 7, 2010 by J-Wire Staff
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Figures released this week by the Jewish Agency reveal the highest number of Australians making Aliyah to Israel in thirty years.

212  Olim made the move from Australia and 8 from New Zealand in the Jewish year of 5770…an increase of 25%.

Australian Olim at Kibbutz Maagan Michael

The news is music to the ears of Zionist Federation of Australia president Philip Chester. He told J-Wire: “The dynamics of Aliyah have changed dramatically. People would emigrate to Israel despite its economic conditions but today they are an added bonus in making Aliyah. The country is booming and there is so much opportunity.”

One drawback he mentioned was the bureaucratic process in Israel to establish a new life there. He said: “Strangely enough, it as significantly easier for those Australians in Israel who want to stay there to come back to Australia and complete the paperwork here…and many of them do.”

The face of Australian Olim has changed too. Chester said: “Up until five years ago, we had a high percentage of Orthodox Jews. But today, thanks to specially-designed programs and the work of the shaliachs in Melbourne and Sydney, the country is attracting much younger people.”

Six months ago, the ZFA started the Welcome Home program in Israel where Australians who had made Aliyah some time ago would mentor and offer support for newcomers. Chester added: “The program has been an outstanding success. We have a large database of families willing to offer help.”

Asked about the 25% increase, Aliyah Shaliach Oren Sella told J-Wire: “The increase of 25% is thanks to the Australian community. Through your schools, synagogues and youth movements you planted the seeds of Aliyah. I am simply harvesting the crop.”

Zionist Federation of New Zealand spokesperson Shirley Bosman that “over the last three years, ten Olim from New Zealand have made new lives for themselves in Israel”.

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