With the start of the Israeli school year set to begin on September 1, over 2,000 children and teens from 37 countries who made aliyah this summer with assistance from The Jewish Agency for Israel will enter the Israeli school system for the first time. Among those who made aliyah (immigrated) were are 31 Jewish children who made their way to Israel with their families in complete secrecy, in covert Jewish Agency operations, from countries with hostile relations with Israel.
To help greet them into the country and ease them into their new surroundings, the head of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Isaac Herzog, met with some of the families coming from those countries and gave them some advice on how to better acclimate to their new surroundings. "You all immigrated in the last few months from countries that are very complex, and we are very happy that you are in Israel. we all want to wish you a most successful school year. May you feel safe here, in your country, in the holy land, in the State of Israel. You are continuing a legacy of generations and we are very proud of you,” Herzog said.
The countries with the greatest number of new Olim children are Russia (around 880), the United States (around 400), France (around 270) and Ukraine (around 150). The new pupils also come from less common countries such as Armenia, China, Thailand, Cyprus, India, Panama and other countries whose identity must remain confidential.
One girl who came from Venezuela, a country which has experienced quite a bit of upheaval the past year which has threatened the Jewish community among other things said: “It’s not good now in Venezuela but it’s a beautiful country. I love Israel and people have everything they need here.” She will be starting school in Ashdod, and said that going to a new school is “difficult, but feels good to be doing so in Israel. I have a lot of friends in the Beit Canada Absorption Center. I have friends from Venezuela, Brazil and lots of countries. It’s good to be here.”