Operation Aliyah – Help Jews from France and Ukraine make Aliyah
DONATE TO HELP FRENCH JEWS MAKE ALIYAH:
The dramatic events in Paris have served as a sobering wake-up call to the world about the dangerous resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe. But for Jews in France and all across the continent, it was more a crushing reminder of the harsh reality they have known about already for years now.
Long before the terror assault on the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices and the deadly hostage stand-off at the kosher supermarket in Paris, one could visit Jewish communities anywhere in Europe and find a people under siege. Jewish synagogues, museums and community centers all have metal detectors and armed guards posted outside. Jewish schools and seminaries have become like fortresses.
If anything, the terror attacks in Paris have shattered any remaining sense of security for much of European Jewry. The hope that their governments could somehow protect them is vanishing. But protect them from what? Even with the public outrage over the Paris attacks and the mass ‘unity’ rallies in the streets of France, most world leaders are still unwilling to identify the real menace now stalking the Jews of Europe – the scourge of Islamic jihadism.
The rallies spoke out against both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia – as if they were equally claiming scores of innocent lives at present. The rising threat now facing European Jewry is an extremely toxic mix. First, there is still much classical anti-Semitism among native Europeans which induces them to vilify Israel as a main cause of Muslim extremism. Add to that the youth violence among the growing Muslim immigrant communities from North Africa and the Middle East. And now home-grown jihadists are returning from battle in places like Yemen, Iraq and Syria as trained militiamen seeking to hunt down easy Jewish prey.
No wonder then that Jews are starting to leave France in record numbers. French aliyah reached an all-time level in 2014 with nearly 7,000 Jewish people moving to Israel. It marked the first time in Israel’s modern history that the highest number of Jewish immigrants came from a Western country.
Jewish Agency authorities were already anticipating that number to double in 2015 to around 15,000. And that was before the Paris terror attacks, which are now expected to accelerate French Jewish aliyah even more. Last year, some 50,000 French Jews approached the Jewish Agency for information about moving to Israel. This week alone, another 2,000 signed up to begin the aliyah process.
Thus the Jewish Agency has asked Christian organizations to assist with funding for the huge influx of French Jews expected to come home to Israel in 2015.
The general perception is that most French Jews can afford the move to Israel. But the reality is that nearly half of the 550,000 Jews in France escaped to there from North Africa several generations ago and many still live in poorer neighbourhoods alongside Muslim immigrants that came from the same countries of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. So they are the most vulnerable Jews at present, and the least able to afford the expenses of moving to another country. And according to the Jewish Agency, it is Sephardic Jews in France which feel the least secure and are showing the most interest in aliyah right now.
The Jerusalem Connection is part of an aliyah alliance with the International Christian Embassy and the Jewish Agency. All donations will go to help fund aliyah seminars, ground transport, flight tickets, absorption costs and other expenses involved in the immigration process. The Jewish Agency has estimated that the average cost for those who need assistance is $1100 per person. So please CLICK HERE and give today to this urgent need. Help us bring home more French Jews, before it is too late.
DONATE TO HELP UKRAINIAN JEWS MAKE ALIYAH:
The Jerusalem Connection is standing together with the Jewish Agency and the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem in an urgent appeal to help the Jews of Ukraine make Aliyah. We invite you to be a part of this God-ordained effort. What was predicted to be a brutal winter has settled upon Ukraine.
Many Jews from Eastern Ukraine are displaced from their homes. Damaged infrastructure; due to the conflict, has interrupted water and electric supplies. To make matters worse, this year’s harvest was hampered; schools did not open on time, and many people’s salaries were delayed.
As of September 2014, 4,200 Ukrainian immigrants made Aliyah from Ukraine. The Jewish Agency predicts a 400% increase in 2015 because of worsening economic conditions and the continuing civil war.
The division between the Eastern and Western parts of Ukraine goes back to ancient times. Even in the Soviet period there was considerable friction between peoples of the two regions. Ukraine did not recover very well after the fall of the Soviet Union. The Russian-speaking separatists in the Eastern part have maintained that they will not rejoin the rest of the country.
All of this leaves the Jewish people in a very tenuous situation. Armed militias from both sides have taken the law into their own hands; manifestations of Anti-Semitism are on the rise. Brutal urban warfare between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian forces in the Eastern part of Ukraine has driven many Jewish citizens out from their homes. They are forced to take shelter in the safer cities in central and western Ukraine.
Many Ukrainian Jews want to explore the possibility of moving to Israel. To meet the growing interest in Aliyah, the Jewish Agency has sent specially trained teams into refugee areas to assist with Aliyah efforts. Making such a dramatic life transition, especially on the heels of losing one’s home, requires an enormous network of support. The Jewish Agency teams offer informational seminars about making Aliyah, and one-on-one counseling.
Once someone decides to make Aliyah, the Jewish Agency is there to assist them with the paperwork, including the proper documentation confirming their Jewishness. The Jewish Agency teams also provide Hebrew classes and Jewish cultural workshops to immigrants. One of the Jewish Agency’s most important educational hubs in Ukraine is Dnepropetrovsk.
Dnepropetrovsk, a medium-sized industrial city, has for the last several years been witness to an amazing revival of Jewish community life. The largest multi-purpose Jewish Community Center in the world, known as the Menorah Center, opened its doors in Dnepropetrovsk in 2012. As Jews from the East pour into Dnepropetrovsk, the Menorah Center is housing dozens of displaced Jewish families. As we all know, God works in mysterious ways.
Look closely and see how He has woven all pieces of our lives together, as long as we are living in obedience to His calling. At the start of the anti-government protests in Ukraine, our Vice President Shelley Neese went to Dnepropetrovsk to speak on behalf of the late Pat Hutchens at the opening of an art exhibit featuring Pat’s Auschwitz Album Revisited. The forty-piece art series is on display at the Holocaust museum at the Menorah Center, and remains part of their permanent collection. What none of us predicted was that the same center hosting an art exhibit in partnership with The Jerusalem Connection has filled in the gap for Ukrainian Jews seeking temporary refuge.
We can’t help but see God’s hand at work as these puzzle pieces come together. The Jerusalem Connection has also been in long-time relationship with Howard Flower, Aliyah Director for the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Howard has been actively engaged with Aliyah from Russia, Belarus, the Baltics, and Ukraine. Howard is an invaluable connection for us as he keeps our Christian supporters abreast of Ukrainian Jews’ specific needs in making their transition to Israel.
Currently, donations are needed to help transport Ukrainian Jews from the conflict zones to safer areas. As for the 4,000 Ukrainians that already made Aliyah this year, many arrived with no worldly possessions. The Jewish Agency would like to offer the neediest families grants of 2,700 shekels (700 dollars) for basic furnishings and food. Operation Aliyah is more than a humanitarian project. It is a divine calling for the followers of Jesus to assist in “Gathering the exiles of Israel … from the four corners of the Earth” (Isaiah 49:22). Over the years, The Jerusalem Connection has been a part of efforts to bring back more than 80,000 Jews from the former Soviet Union to Israel.
We are now giving our attention to the desperate needs of Jews in Ukraine, and France. But we need your help! Please pray for the way to be open for the Jews of Ukraine. And please pray for their safety. And if you are able, please CLICK HERE and make a generous donation to help bring them home soon.
Od ki yavo Shilo (until Messiah comes), James M. Hutchens, Ph.D. President Chaplain (Brigadier General) U.S. Army (Ret.)