Modern Aliyah

Economic, political, and religious trends shape the cultural makeup of the State of Israel.

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All statistics taken from the Central Bureau of Statistics (www.cbs.gov.il) and the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption (www.moia.gov.il).

Five Aliyah Snapshots

Joel and Debbie Wine and their three young children left Massachusetts for Israel in July 2006, despite the ongoing war between Israel and Hezbollah. According to Joel, "This is Israel, and if you think of yourself as Israeli, you realize there's really not a choice. We've mentally, psychologically, emotionally made the commitment to be part of the people of Israel in the Land of Israel, and unfortunately, this [war] is part of the reality." Debbie: "We're hoping that [our children] will look to Israeli soldiers as heroes rather than the commercial superheroes and princesses that seem to dominate American children's media."(www.haaretz.com) 

modern aliyahAndrew Goldis (21) grew up in the town of Zheleznogorsk, Russia. His father is Jewish but his only connection to his roots was the fact that he was teased at school for his Jewish appearance. On a visit to Israel at the age of 14, Andrew was impressed by the country's beauty and spirituality. He decided to sign up to the Na'aleh program in which teens from the former Soviet Union complete high school in Israel. "I was living on my own, learning in a new and exciting place and meeting great people,"says Andrew. "Once in Israel, I felt that I wasn't different anymore."(www.jewishagency.org)

Ariela Hurvitz made aliyah from Argentina. She was curious about Israel, her parents having lived there when they were first married. Ariela's grandparents had migrated from Europe to South America, and her own family had also moved around. "My family had a long journey. They were like wandering Jews. By contrast, I feel Israel is my place in the world. In Israel, I'm Jewish and feel like I'm planting roots."(www.jewishagency.org)

Yosef Adhina, 23, a business student from Addis Ababa, made aliyah to join his father who had left Ethiopia for Israel in the 1980s. "I felt that I also wanted to come to Israel and to live there as a Jew … Life was hard in Ethiopia. There were no opportunities and lots of financial worries. Here it's better. But the best thing is to be able to talk the holy language, to feel at home as a Jew." (www.jewishagency.org)

Julien Daham, 29, made aliyah in 2006 from Nice, France. Israel is the place he feels most at home, despite the threat of Kassam and Katyusha missile attacks. "I don't feel unsafe here," he said, describing France as more dangerous than Israel. "The streets are safer here, even with all the attacks." (www.jpost.com) Dafne Partouche, 18, also from France, says I'm not afraid of Hezbollah … I trust the Israeli army. They will not let Hezbollah destroy the country. Well, maybe I'm a little afraid." (www.jta.org)   

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Matt Plen

Matt Plen is the Chief Executive of Masorti Judaism in the UK. He has taught and trained educators in diverse institutions in Israel, the UK and the USA and is currently researching his doctorate on Critical Pedagogy and Jewish Ideologies of Social Justice.