JERUSALEM — Supported by millions of Christians worldwide, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) brought 5,600 immigrants from 27 countries to Israel in 2017, reflecting a 25 percent increase from last year and amounting to a third of Israel’s new citizens from non-English-speaking countries.
During the past year, The Fellowship also reached a new milestone by bringing the 10,000th immigrant to Israel since the organization began singlehandedly operating its own global aliyah (immigration) program in late 2014. The Fellowship works in 27 countries from Argentina to Ukraine where the Jewish community is threatened by economic turbulence, rising anti-Semitism or terrorism, and has become the lead aliyah force in nine of those countries.
During 2017, a total of about 28,400 immigrants arrived in Israel from around the world, including 3,000 from North America and up to 1,000 from other English-speaking nations. Among the overall total of newcomers, between 5,000-6,000 arrived on tourism visas but later changed their status to become new immigrants. The Fellowship itself brought one third of the remaining 18,400 olim, becoming an increasing force in aliyah.
“Thanks to our millions of Christian friends in the U.S. and in countries from Brazil to South Korea, we are playing an increasingly active role in bringing new immigrants to their Jewish homeland,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship’s founder and president. “We look forward to bringing even more Jews home to Israel in 2018 and continuing to help build the Jewish state.”
The Fellowship has been active in aliyah for 25 years, partnering with other organizations initially including the Jewish Agency and Nefesh B’Nefesh, which The Fellowship helped found. Since starting its own global aliyah program in late 2014, The Fellowship has brought nearly 12,000 new immigrants to Israel from Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, the Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Guatemala, Latvia, Lithuania, Melilla, Mexico, Moldova, Panama, Paraguay, Russia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, and another nation which cannot be named due to security reasons.
The Fellowship’s partnership with new immigrants to Israel does not begin and end at Ben-Gurion Airport. In addition to providing pre-aliyah seminars in immigrants’ native countries, The Fellowship provides financial aid, counseling, and other support for olim to help them absorb into Israeli life, including grants of $800 per adult and $400 per child.
About The Fellowship: The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) was founded in 1983 to promote better understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews, and build broad support for Israel. Today it is one of the leading forces helping Israel and Jews in need worldwide — and is the largest channel of Christian support for Israel. Led by its founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship now raises more than $140 million per year, mostly from Christians, to assist Israel and the Jewish people. Since its founding, The Fellowship has raised more than $1.4 billion for this work. The organization has offices in Jerusalem, Chicago, Toronto and Seoul.
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