Israel observes first Aliyah Day
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Israel observes first Aliyah Day

New immigrants to Israel stepping out of the plane at Ben Gurion Airport. (Courtesy Nefesh B'Nefesh)

New immigrants to Israel stepping off the plane at Ben Gurion Airport. (Courtesy of Nefesh B’Nefesh)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel is marking its first official Aliyah Day, celebrating immigration to the country and the contributions of immigrants to its society.

The holiday on Tuesday was established by the Knesset in June.

“I will not give up on a single Jew or a single immigrant,” Natan Sharansky, the head of the Jewish Agency for Israel, said at a special session of the Knesset Committee on Aliyah, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs in honor of Aliyah Day.

“I say to all Jews, without distinction, that I want them and their prayers and their rabbis here in Israel. There is room for all of us here, and we must tell all Jews who support us abroad and all who wish to immigrate to Israel that they are wanted and accepted among us.”

Sharansky was referring to the current unrest over the agreement to establish an egalitarian prayer section at the Western Wall Plaza.

The minister of aliyah and immigrant absorption, Sofa Landver, also participated in the special session.

Among other observances of the day scheduled are celebrations in the Knesset and a program at the president’s residence, as well as in schools, the army and the police force, as required by law, The Times of Israel reported.