Exclusive: Jewish Agency solves aliya impasse

Labor dispute disrupted issuing of immigration visas in June; immigrants to be flown into Israel as tourists, then processed.

New immigrants pose upon arrival 370 (photo credit: Courtesy of Nefesh B'Nefesh)
New immigrants pose upon arrival 370
(photo credit: Courtesy of Nefesh B'Nefesh)
Aliya is set to resume following a two-week impasse, a spokeswoman for the Jewish Agency told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
The Foreign Ministry ceased issuing immigration visas in late June as part of an ongoing work dispute by the ministry’s workers’ union and the government.
New immigrants will be flown to Israel as tourists, at the expense of the Jewish Agency, and will then be processed in Israel.
“We will do our best to bring everybody to Israel on the date they want to make aliya,” spokeswoman Hagit Halali said.
Those whose immigration has been put on hold due to the strike can expect to receive letters informing them of the “ad hoc solution,” she added.
In June, Jewish Agency director of aliya Yehuda Sharf told the Post that potentially hundreds of immigrants had been placed in limbo by the Foreign Ministry’s ongoing strike.
Over 800 immigrants are due to arrive in Israel this summer from France alone, Halali said.
The Jewish Agency will hold a farewell ceremony for the immigrants on Wednesday in Paris’s Nazareth Synagogue.
Scheduled to attend is Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky, Israel’s ambassador to France Yossi Gal and French Consistoire President Joël Mergui.
According to the Jewish Agency there has been an increase of 40 percent in French aliya from 2012 and the number of young adults participating in long-term educational and volunteer programs through Masa, a joint project of the government and the the Jewish Agency, has risen by 60%.
The Jewish Agency estimates that around 2,500 French Jews will make aliya by the end of the year.
Sharansky said it is the begining of a significant increase in aliya from France, the result of the agency’s investment in “experiential programs,” providing young adults the opportunity to study abroad, work and “experience real life” in Israel.
“We are now seeing the fruits of these efforts as many of the graduates of these programs have decided to make aliya after enjoying their Israel experience,” he said.