Edelstein on Aliyah Day: Israel wouldn’t exist without immigrants

“Israel would not exist without immigrants,” said Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, who was the final prisoner of Zion to leave the Soviet Union for Israel.

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October 15, 2018 18:31
1 minute read.
Nefesh B'Nefesh hosts its annual Mega Aliyah Fair in New York

Nefesh B'Nefesh hosts its annual Mega Aliyah Fair in New York. (photo credit: NEFESH B'NEFESH)

 
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The Knesset marked Yom Ha’aliyah – the national day in honor of immigration – on Monday with a special event honoring immigrants to Israel.

The government decided to create Yom Ha’aliyah two years ago and purposely timed it to coincide with the reading of the Torah portion Lech Lecha (Gen.

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12:1–17:27) in which Abraham is told to leave his home, and go to the land of Israel.

“Israel would not exist without immigrants,” said Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, who was the final prisoner of Zion to leave the Soviet Union for Israel.

Edelstein (Likud) said the attitude toward immigrants in Israel has changed for the better since he first entered the Knesset in 1996.

Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver (Yisrael Beytenu) presented a certificate to Jay Shultz and Jonathan Javor, two young Tel Aviv residents who persuaded MKs to create Aliyah Day.

“Aliyah saved the State of Israel,” Landver said.

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Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee chairman Avraham Neguise (Likud) said 6,253,000 immigrants have moved to Israel since the state was founded 70 years ago. He said the Israeli public must do more to embrace immigrants and help them face their challenges.

Coalition chairman David Amsalem told the crowd that “Israel belongs to all Jews, even if they don’t live here” and that he prays for “all the Jews in the world to realize their home is here in Israel.”

In honor of Aliyah Day, a diverse group of 33 Americans immigrated to Israel on a Nefesh B’Nefesh group aliyah flight. The flight landed at Ben-Gurion Airport with new immigrants coming from nine US states and all walks of life, ranging from young students to retirees.

“Yom Ha’aliyah is an important and inspiring opportunity to appreciate how immigrants have shaped Israel’s culture, economy and national character and remind us all to appreciate the miraculous times we live in,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, co-founder and executive director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “Our latest group of immigrants will no doubt have a transformative impact on Israeli society through community-building, innovation, and so many other outstanding and diverse contributions.”

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