NEW YORK (Oct. 12)
The North American Aliya Movement (NAAM) held its first national board meeting and first leadership development seminar at the International Synagogue at Kennedy Airport Sunday. Approximately 100 members, representing Hugei Aliya (groups involved in the emigration of American Jews to Israel) from 40 cities around the U.S. attended the meeting.
Geula Cohen, member of the Israeli Knesset and long-standing member of the Herut Party, told the meeting that aliya is “the most positive thing I have seen in the United States.” Ms. Cohen, who was a member of the Stern Group during Israel’s War of Independence, is chairperson of the newly formed Special Committee of the Knesset for Aliya. She is currently in New York as part of the Israeli delegation to the United Nations.
Ms. Cohen said that she has been greatly disturbed by the number of Israelis who have left Israel and are now living in the U.S. and considers the aliya movement to be of “crucial, life and death importance to the Jewish State,” Her remarks were warmly received by those at the meeting and she was given a standing ovation at the end of her speech.
A resolution was adopted at the meeting to strongly recommend to the Jewish Agency that former Americans who have successfully settled in Israel be used as shlichim rather, than native-born Israelis, since the former Americans are generally the most effective in dealing with the American Jewish community. Linda Brown was elected NAAM president.
NAAM was established in 1977 and was formerly called the Association of Americans and Canadians for Aliya (AACA), the organization set up by the World Zionist Organization in 1968 to deal with American aliya.