'More funds needed for American aliya'
Former ambassador to US Danny Ayalon says 15,000 US Jews want to immigrate.
By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
January 13, 2007 23:49
1 minute read.
Danny Ayalon 224 88 ap.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Some 15,000 North American Jews would like to immigrate to Israel but Nefesh B'Nefesh lacks the funding to facilitate their coming, according to Danny Ayalon, who became the organization's co-chair this week after wrapping up his terms as ambassador to the United States.
"The potential is here" for a massive influx, he said, so his priority would be raising funds and awareness for the organization.
Ayalon said at least $45 million would be needed to bring those 15,000, all of whom have contacted Nefesh and are at various stages of the application process.
Jerusalem Journal: Once upon an ulpan
He calculated that it costs $3,000 per immigrant to provide the pre- and post-absorption services the organization offers to facilitate aliya, which doesn't include the financial assistance grants Nefesh gives to many of the immigrant families.
The Jewish Agency also provides some services and pays for all of the immigrants' flights.
Ayalon's new post could bring him back to North America often, as he looks for big donors for his organization, but he was in town this weekend to participate in a gala event honoring him for his time as ambassador.
Organized by Christian supporters of Israel, over 70 US senators and representatives are to be among the 700 people coming to the event, of which ABC television's Sam Donaldson will be the MC.
During his tenure, Ayalon fostered ties between Christians and Jews in America in support of Israel. The issue was a priority of Ariel Sharon, who as prime minister chose Ayalon for the ambassadorship, though it was a strategy to which some American Jews objected.