Speaking at a Knesset event marking Aliyah Day, which was first celebrated last year, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid tribute to new immigrants for helping bring about Israel’s “unimaginable prosperity.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the “dream of the return to Zion” Tuesday as the Knesset celebrated for Aliyah Day by paying tribute to the continuation of Jewish immigration from around the globe since biblical times.
Pinpointing the biblical period of Abraham as the genesis of the Jewish historical journey to Zion, Netanyahu acknowledged that the phenomenon had at times slowed to “small trickles” while sometimes gaining momentum into “a big flow,” but rejoiced that “since the inception of Zionism it has been at the top of the list of priorities, in order to realize the dream of the return to Zion.”
Marking Aliyah Day as an official national holiday came following the ratification of a law in June which was framed to honor immigrants who each year depart from their home countries and relocate to Israel.
While the journey to Israel poses its own challenges for many new immigrants, particularly given its concomitant demands such as acclimatizing to the new culture, learning a new language, and adapting to a vastly different way of life, Netanyahu furnished praise on those who had made the voyage for their contribution to fulfilling the promises of the Promised Land.
“Israel’s prosperity is unimaginable without Aliyah,” Netanyahu stated from the Knesset podium.
“Our enemies constantly tried to prevent Aliyah, and despite the major struggles, with the Arabs and the British, we triumphed, and despite the absorption difficulties and life in Israel during its initial years (of existence), and despite the mistakes that were made, a wonderful enterprise was created here,” he continued.
The prime minister also lauded the country’s successes in extricating trapped Jews in Ethiopia and enabling Jews from the Soviet Union to flee the Iron Curtain behind which they remained captive for decades.
“The country continued to fight for Jewish communities in distress and succeeded in opening the gates from both the Soviet Union and Ethiopia,” Netanyahu said, noting the unique national Jewish pride that could be found in Israel for new immigrants.
”This is the place where Jews walk tall, because this is our country; it is ours; we grew here, and our roots are planted here,” he declared.
Also speaking at the event, opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) added that Aliyah was a manifestation of the Zionist dream which had given rise to “a narrative unlike any other in the world.”
For Herzog however, Aliyah was important not just for the young, but also for the elderly. Moreover, Herzog said that he was committed to resolving some of the major issues that accompany many new immigrants on their journey.
By: Jack Ben-David, World Israel News