166 youths from Brazil and Ukraine arrive for pre-Aliyah programs

In two special flights organized by The Jewish Agency for Israel this week, a cohort of young people from the two countries began studying and exploring life in Israel.

Young people arriving Tuesday evening from Ukraine to participate in educational programs. (photo credit: SRAYA DIAMANT)
Young people arriving Tuesday evening from Ukraine to participate in educational programs.
(photo credit: SRAYA DIAMANT)
One hundred twenty young people from Ukraine and 46 from Brazil arrived in Israel this week as part of two special flights organized by The Jewish Agency for Israel. 
Despite the logistical hurdles posed by the coronavirus pandemic, The Jewish Agency has continued to work on keeping global Jews connected to Israel. 
The Ukrainian cohort, which arrived late Tuesday, will soon embark on their studies in Israel. Their arrival was made possible by a Dutch organization, Christians for Israel, with assistance from Keren Hayesod.
“We live in special times. As "Christians for Israel," we are here to support the Jewish people. And we see it happening today: 120 young people are returning to their homeland, Israel!” said Christians for Israel (C4I) CEO Frank van Oordt, who accompanied the young adults on their trip from Ukraine to Israel. 
Since its establishment in the Netherlands in 1979, C4I has developed into a growing global movement of local C4I operations with over 150,000 supporters from all Christian denominations. C4I chose to sponsor this flights as part of its 40th anniversary celebration. A C4I delegation flew to Kiev to accompany the young Ukrainians, along with Jewish Agency Shaliach (emissary) to Ukraine Dmitry Ioffe, on their journey to Israel.
Young people arriving Tuesday evening from Ukraine to participate in educational programs. Credit: Sraya DiamantYoung people arriving Tuesday evening from Ukraine to participate in educational programs. Credit: Sraya Diamant
World Chairman of Keren Hayesod Sam Grundwerg, who assisted in the effort to bring the young people to Israel, said, "Keren Hayesod and the State of Israel face a significant task of immigration and absorption of Jews, who come from all over the world to build a home in Israel. The flight joins the many efforts of Israel, together with Christian for Israel, our true friends, who repeatedly demonstrate solidarity with Israeli society. We will continue to work together to advance important social goals.”
Those new arrivals who are high-school aged will enroll in the Naale Elite Academy, a program backed by the Ministry of Education and the Naale Administration, which enables young Jews from around the world to complete high school in Israel. Those aged 17-21 will enroll in the SELA program, a Jewish Agency initiative for high school graduates who plan to continue their higher education in Israel, run in partnership with the Israel Experience. Naturally, all new arrivals were required to enter quarantine, in adherence with Ministry of Health guidelines. 
Amira Ahronoviz, CEO of The Jewish Agency. Credit: David SalemAmira Ahronoviz, CEO of The Jewish Agency. Credit: David Salem
Earlier this week, young people arriving from Brazil also bid their parents farewell in order to begin their studies in Israel at Naale. They were accompanied on their flight from South America by Jewish Agency Shaliach to Brazil Nestor Kirchuk. These teens arrived as part of a growing trend of increased interest in Aliyah from Brazil, with The Jewish Agency reporting 800 new Aliyah files from that country opened since the beginning of 2020, a 21-percent rise from last year. The number of Naale participants from Brazil has doubled from last year.
A large percentage of these educational program graduates choose to stay in Israel, with many going on to serve in the IDF and study in Israeli higher education institutions. Many parents of Naale and SELA participants follow their children to Israel and make Aliyah. 
“These days, it is especially moving to welcome these young people who are looking to build their future together with us here in Israel,” Jewish Agency Director General Amira Ahronoviz said. “The Jewish Agency will continue to fulfill its mission to bridge between world Jewry and Israel and to strengthen the connection with young Jews around the world.”