Fewer Emissaries. Greater Reliance on Local Jews Mark New Aliya Efforts in U.S.

A reduction in the number of Israeli “shlichim” (emissaries) in the United States is underway as a result of the sharp decline in aliya from this country to Israel and budget difficulties, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned today. Other measures of austerity will include closing offices throughout the United States and a reduction to one emissary in many communities that presently have two or more.

“All these measures do not mean that we are going to out our activities on behalf of aliya,” Yehoshua Yadlin, director of the Israel Aliya Center in North America said in a telephone interview with the JTA today. He said that aliya here will be encouraged through new means that will seek to involve members of local Jewish communities and Jewish organizations here in work for aliya.

Yadlin said that “aliya desks” will be established in major Jewish organizations in the United States. According to Yadlin, “aliya desks” are already operated by B’nai B’rith and the Reform movement. “We are also going to encourage establishment of community-wide aliya councils,” Yadlin said, explaining that the community councils would seek to encourage aliya among members of the community. Recently the Jewish communities of Detroit and Miami formed aliya councils and other major Jewish communities are expected to do the same.

Terming the retrenchment of emissaries as “temporary,” Yadlin pointed out that the increase in aliya activities will be based on local manpower. He also disclosed that his department is planning a “net of field workers” on American campuses to encourage aliya of Jewish students.

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