• Over 300 arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport on July 23
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Coming Home to the Promised Land

Pim van der Hoff - 1 August 2018

When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will be proved holy through them in the sight of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore.
Ezekiel 39:27,28

This word from the prophet Ezekiel characterizes the striking event that took place on July 23rdat Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv. A large EL AL plane carrying over three hundred olim – new Jewish immigrants – landed late in the afternoon. It was extraordinary to witness the arrival of so many new residents from various countries at the same time.

“Today is the Jewish people’s world championship, with one major difference: It is not being played in Russia but in Israel. Everyone in this arrival hall is a winner. Let us continue building, dreaming and making this an even bigger miracle than it already is today,” Greg Masel said in his welcome address. He is the general director of Keren Hayesod, the organization that together with the Jewish Agency has been responsible for the immigration of Jews from around the world for nearly a century. In his speech he explicitly thanked Christians for Israel and certain other Christian organizations that made it possible for over three hundred Jewish immigrants to arrive in Israel at the same time. For many years there has been a strong connection and close cooperation between Christians for Israel, Keren Hayesod, and the Jewish Agency.

Shortly before the EL AL Boeing 747 taxied across Ben Gurion Airport to the large hall where hundreds of people had spent hours eagerly awaiting the arrival of three hundred olim from all the corners of the world. They welcomed the immigrants with songs and waving flags.

As soon as the plane had stopped we had the privilege of welcoming the new Jewish residents of Israel on the plane together with Ms. Sofa Landver, minister of Immigration and Integration, Nathan Sharansky, outgoing president of the Jewish Agency, and his successor, Isaac Herzog. Inside the plane there was an overwhelming sense of excitement and joy at having finally arrived in the Promised Land. There were many families with young children. Most had come from France but there were also olim from South America and Canada. Immigrants who had arrived earlier from other parts of the world were also present at the airport, including a handful of families from Russia.

The official reception took place in the huge arrival hall. Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau was first to address the crowd, which included an especially large number of young people, of whom many have not lived in Israel long. He gave a short speech in the spirit of the well-known verses from the prophesy in Isaiah 43:

‘Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you, I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth.’ Isaiah 43:5,6

At the end of the 19thcentury the Jewish people began to return to the land of their fathers after living in the diaspora for nearly two thousand years. During much of that time they had suffered under persecution which reached a devastating low point with the murder of six million Jews during World War II. Christians for Israel has been involved in aliyah since the 1990’s through the projectBring the Jews Home’. Many Christians for Israel affiliates collected funds for the return of the Jews to the Promised Land, as a gift for Israel’s 70thbirthday.

The arrival of over three hundred new olim in Israel and the ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport were visible proof of the tremendous support of Christians for the homecoming of the Jewish people in their only safe harbor in the world, the land of Israel.

 

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