• The empty arrival hall at the Ben Gurion International Airport on March 11, 2020. Israeli authorities imposed severe restrictions on all travelers entering Israel, including a two week home quarantine of all arrivals from all countries to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Photo: Flash90

Israel protects its borders and welcomes Aliyah

Danielle Mor - 12 March 2020

These are complex times for all of us in the world and Israel is no exception. With the news filled with reports on growing numbers of those diagnosed with Corona and heartbreaking reports on those who lost their lives, Israel is moving ahead.

With accelerated research and efforts to create an OTC home diagnostic test and of course a vaccine.
With government provided economic boosts at about $3 Billion, to help sustain businesses and industries that are already suffering.
With strict home quarantine rules placing over 60,000 Israelis in a 14 day quarantine.

And as of March 9th, a strict policy requiring all who arrive in Israel to be placed in a 14 day home quarantine.

Many organizations need to make tough choices at this time.
For us at The Jewish Agency, it was pretty clear that staff will not be permitted to travel overseas, that large events need to be rescheduled and that all who are in quarantine will be supported.

But the toughest decision was what to do with Aliyah?
Would we be in fact protecting the olim (immigrants) and the citizens of our country by not allowing Aliyah at this time?

I am proud to update that despite the many concerns and voices asking that Aliyah be halted, the clear decision is that Aliyah will go on.

Since 1948, The Jewish Agency never stopped bringing olim to Israel and this will be no exception. 2019 was the highest Aliyah year in over a decade and 2020 promised to be even higher.

All olim will be advised of the current situation and the need to go into home quarantine, all will be welcomed, receive their citizenship papers and taken to their destination of choice where they can maintain quarantine.

Those that are coming to our residential programs, are being given quarantine in our centers. Our dedicated staff are bringing them food and supplies, staying away from their own families in order to support the new olim.

On March 18th, some 50 olim from Ethiopia will arrive. They will also go into quarantine but they will be out in time to have their first Passover of freedom in Israel!

Of course this situation requires further resources – for food and provisions, enhanced absorption funds and more.

I will end by saying that this crises comes at the time of the holiday of Purim. When we remember the faith, courage and leadership of Esther that brought joy and unity in place of destruction and fear.

We must be encouraged and in fact give courage by the same words that spoke straight to her heart:


Thank you for your prayers and support and please know that the people of Israel are praying for you.


Update from our Aliyah team in Ukraine
Koen Carlier, our coordinator in Ukraine: “Over the past few days we already received some worried phone calls from Jewish families, because they were wondering whether we would continue our transport to the consulate and the various airports, because of the Coronavirus. Since last night Ukraine has gone into quarantine. 180 border crossings with neighboring countries have been closed. We were able to reassure these families just like the Jewish Agency done: in difficult times the Aliyah continues! The team of Christians for Israel in Ukraine is well trained to continue their work under difficult circumstances! In the coming time it will be extra busy. All drivers are informed and on standby!
Please continue to help us with the return of the Jewish people back to their Homeland! It costs € 135 euro or US $ 165 to help one Jewish person from Ukraine!

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