Israeli organizations entrusted with facilitating Aliyah (immigration to Israel) have registered a sharp increase in the number of North American Jews registering for immigration to Israel.
The Jewish Agency and the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization presented the data during the Knesset’s Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs discussion on Monday on the country’s preparedness for such a mass wave of immigration.
Committee Chairman MK David Bitan said the Foreign Ministry and the Population and Immigration Authority should decrease the waiting period for immigrating to Israel by 80%. He demanded that those asking to make Aliyah be given the option of obtaining tourist visas immediately, until their immigration papers come through.
He also called on the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, the Foreign Ministry and the Population and Immigration Authority to establish a framework that will allow people to make Aliyah within a month of their decision to do so.
The meeting was held at the initiative of Nefesh B’Nefesh, which has so far helped more than 60,000 Jews from the US, Canada and the UK immigrate to Israel.
According to data presented by the organization, the number of immigration requests has increased by 157% since the Coronavirus pandemic broke out.
In 2019, 2,283 people made Aliyah through Nefesh B’Nefesh, and another 8,306 immigrated to Israel with the organization’s assistance in the first half of 2020.
In general, Israel experienced an 18.1% climb in Aliyah in 2019 with 33,247 immigrants.
Nefesh B’Nefesh Executive Vice President Zev Gershinsky stressed that “the Corona pandemic has created an opportunity unlike any other, possibly since the establishment of the state, to absorb a mass Aliyah from North America, and we receive many requests from entire communities that are interested, in a practical manner, in making Aliyah soon.”
“Historic moments demand historic decisions, and therefore our partners in the government offices are required to think outside the box, display flexibility of thought and bring about a quality, contributing and mass Aliyah,” he urged the politicians.
In June, the Jewish Agency opened 3,359 Aliyah files, marking a 592% increase.
Israel is expecting a quarter of a million Olim in the next 3-5 years, Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog told the Knesset’s Immigration and Absorption Committee this month, a wave of immigration following the global Coronavirus crisis.
Since Israel’s establishment as a State, about 3.3 million immigrants immigrated to Israel, about 44.3% of whom immigrated from 1990 onwards.