... Jerusalem ... 22 Just as the new earth and the new heavens will endure by my power, so your descendants and your name will endure ... Isaiah 66 (GNT), 18 ... Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and its PALACE restored. Jeremiah 30:18 (GNT)


Aliyah an overview: the Jewish State of Israel Part III of IV

With the establishment of the State of Israel, the Land of Israel became independent while Aliyah, sometimes illegal, continued. 

The day before the expiration of …

… the British Mandate, David Ben-Gurion, the executive head of the World Zionist Organization and president of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared, "the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel". Eretz Israel was the only term referring to the boarders of the newly established state on the 14th of May 1948. The State of Israel would be independent upon the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine, the 15th of May 1948.

The Israeli government mandated the Jewish Agency for Israel to handle Aliyah of Jewish people out of the diaspora to the State of Israel. This non-profit organization held office in Jaffa since 1908 - the Land of Israel was under Ottoman control - as an operational branch of the Zionist Organization. Since 1929 it has been serving as the primary organization responsible for Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel.

The State of Israel issued the Law of Return for Jews in 1950, and extended it in 1970, which made it possible for people who are not Jewish under Rabbinical Law to immigrate to Israel. These are people of Jewish descent and non-Jewish spouses. They all would have the right to live in Israel and to gain Israeli citizenship.

Over half a million Jews made Aliyah to Israel between 1948 and 1950, although the process of naming and numbering individual Jews for the necessary official papers giving access to the Land of Israel ceased. Many Jewish people fled because of renewed persecution in Eastern Europe and hostility in Arab countries.

Aliyah post-Second World War

After World War II an estimate of one million Jewish refugees whom were classified as “not repatriable” were placed in Displaced Persons camps in Germany and Austria where from they were not allowed to leave, while at the same time they weren't granted permission to enter the Land of Israel due to the British imposed quotas according to the British White Paper of 1939.

Bricha, meaning escape or flight, was the underground organized effort to help Shoah, Holocaust survivors escape from post-World War II Europe to the Land of Israel which at the time still was under the British Mandate over Palestine (1922-1948). Bricha was founded in Lublin (Poland), late 1944 to early 1945, by Jewish members of the Polish resistance together with Warsaw ghetto fighters. Soon they joined the Jewish Brigade – a Jewish military formation of the British Army, formed by the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, that served in Europe in 1944 fighting Nazis in Italy, after which some joined Aliyah Bet - and eventually the Haganah that led a similar effort. Bricha was part of the larger operation Aliyah Bet that assisted Jewish people to immigrate illegally to the Land of Israel.

This period came to an end with the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948, which annulled the British White Paper of 1939 that regulated by means of quota the influx of Jews into the Land of Israel under the British Mandate over Palestine. This period is often called kibbutz galuyot - literally in-gathering of the exiles - due to the Aliyah of large Jewish communities out of the diaspora. Jews made Aliyah to the Land of Israel because they were fleeing persecution or were expelled.

Mass Aliyah operations

Special operations were organized by the State of Israel for mass Aliyah since its establishment onwards. Aliyah continued from many different countries with Jewish people either seeking security or much later they left for other reasons. A far from complete list of countries, the Arab countries (1948-early 1970s), Iran (1970s-1979):, Ethiopia (1980s,1990s, 2000s), Soviet Union (1970s), post-Soviet States (1990s), Latin America (2000s, France (2000-2009), United States and Canada 1948-2000s), and so on.

Middle East

In 1949 to 1950 Operation Magic Carpet or On Eagles Wings – inspired by Exodus 19:4 and Isaiah 40:31 - brought about 49,000 Jews, nearly the entire Jewish community in Yemen to Israel.
In 1951 Operation Ezra and Nehemiah – inspired by the biblical books Ezra and Nehemiah telling the story of Jews making Aliyah to Israel with permission of the Babylonian kings - brought about 114,000 Jews from Iraq.

A total of nearly 700,000 Jewish immigrants, including about 300,000 from the Muslim world, found their way to Israel. Many were Sephardic and Mezrahi Jews. The Jewish population had doubled by this time. Gradually the new arrived Jews adapted into the Israeli society. The Islamic revolution of 1979 resulted in about one-third of the Jewish community, 30,000 Iranian Jews making Aliyah to Israel while others immigrated to New York and Los Angeles in the United States.


The Bet Israel, literally house or community of Israel, also known as Ethiopian Jews live in North and North-Western Ethiopia. The Israeli and American government arranged major operations to transport them to Israel since the 1970s. Was the first wave of Ethiopian Jews making Aliyah arrived mid 1970s. Operation Brothers was followed by several operations, including Operation Moses that took place from November 1984 to January 1985 which brought 6,500 to 8,000 Jews from Sudan to Israel. Sadly 2,000 to 4,000 Jews died on their way to Sudan or in Sudanese refugee camps. In 1991 Operation Salomon in one day 14,325 Jews from Ethiopia were brought to Israel by 34 air crafts. In the 2000s Ethiopian Jews has continued arrive in Israel, Currently an estimate of 119,500 etnic Ethiopian Israelis live in Israel, with 32% of them native-born in Israel.


Since the early 1990s Jewish people from India, the Bnei Menashe, has been arriving in small numbers in Israel. They claimed to be of Jewish descent. Their claims sere investigated in the past in the 1980s by Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail funder of Anishov, which is dedicated to finding the Lost Tribes of Israel – regarded as the members of the ten tribes of Israel, excluding Judah and Benjamin, that didn't return to Israel after the Babylonian Exile - and facilitating Aliyah for them. These people live in the North-Eastern border states of India, with a community of about 9,000 people, of which 2,000 made Aliyah and currently lives in Israel, while others are preparing themselves to do so. In 2005 the Chief Rabbi in Israel accepted them as Jews.

Egyptian Jews forced out

Alexandria – Egypt's second largest city after Greater Cairo, its largest seaport lying directly on the Mediterranean coast – had once a flourishing Jewish community that was practically reduced from 75,000 before 1948, to about 50 today. In the 1950s and 1960s more Jewish residents of Egypt fled to the State of Israel, France, South America and other countries.
There were negative reactions towards Zionism among Egyptians after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War in which Egypt participated. Bombings of Jewish areas in Egypt took place killing 70 Jews and wounding nearly 200, while many more lives were claimed by riots. The Jewish citizens of Egypt were perceived as Zionist collaborators and were forced to leave the country while leaving their assets behind. By 1950, nearly 40% of Egypt's Jewish population had emigrated, about 14,000 made Aliyah to the State of Israel.

In 1954 the Lavon Affair – an Israeli non-deadly sabotage operation that blew up Western targets – that led to the death sentence of two Jewish participants, Shmuel Azzar and Dr. Moussa Marzouk - those who murdered members of his family in years before this affair were not sentenced - deepened the distrust between Egyptians and Jews. 
In 1956 during the Suez Crisis – a diplomatic and military confrontation between Egypt and the allied British, French and Israelis concerning the Egyptian privatization of the Suez Canal - about 25,000 Jews left Egypt after being forced to sigh declarations that they were leaving voluntarily, while agreeing with the confiscation of their assets. Some 1,000 Jews were imprisoned. Similar measures were taken against British an French nationals in Egypt.  

After the Six-Day War in 1967, more confiscations of Jewish property took place, Egyptian Jewish men aged 17 to 60 were either deported or incarcerated in detention centres to tortured for more than three years. 
All these resulted in the majority of Egyptian Jews leaving the country. About 35,000 fled, making Aliyah to the State of Israel, about 15,000 went to Brazil, some 9,000 went to the United States and 9,000 went to Argentina.Today, anti-Jewish feelings run high in Egypt, and there are less than 100 Jews left in the country.

The Soviet Union (USSR)

During the period of 1948 to 1967 Soviet Jews made Aliyah to Israel from the Soviet Union. A minimum of about 22,000 Jews, mainly elderly people for family reunification, were allowed by the Soviet authorities to leave Russia to immigrate to Israel. At the time mass emigration was politically undesirable for the Soviet Union and family reunion was the only grounds on which Jews could acquire an exit visa. Jews needed a formal petition from family abroad to apply, and while the procedure was ongoing entire families in the Soviet Union had to quit their jobs, which could lead to charges of social parasitism, a criminal offence in the Soviet Union. Unfortunately going through al this trouble for an official piece of paper to be able to leave often resulted in a formal refusal. The liaison organization Lishkat Hakesher (liaison bureau), established in the early 1950s, kept in contact with Soviet Jews and promoted Aliyah amongst the Jews living in the Eastern Bloc during the cold war. 

During the period of 1960 to 1967 only about 4,000 Soviet Jews could leave the Soviet Union.
In 1967 the Soviets broke diplomatic relations with Israel due to the 1967 Six-Day War between neighbouring countries and Israel, which resulted in Israel attaining full control over Jerusalem, Israel's capital city. It was the time of Zionology, an anti-Jewish and ant-Zionist propaganda presented as an ideology on modern Zionism alleging that Zionism was a form of racism and that Zionists were similar to the Nazis. This was an anti-Zionist propaganda in the state-controlled environment of the Soviet mass media, accompanied with a systematic institutional state-sponsored anti-Semitic campaign. This made Jewish religious and cultural life virtually impossible. By the end of the 1960s most Soviet Jews still living in the Soviet Union were assimilated and non-religious. But, Zionist feelings were stirred up by their sense of pride that the Jewish State won the Six-Day War over the Soviet-armed Arab armies, and resulting in Jerusalem once again being Israel's capital city.

In those years the term Refuseniks came in use as an unofficial term for individuals whom permission to emigrate out of the Soviet Union was denied. It was typically but no exclusively used for the Soviet Jews. Some of them organized demonstrations, and a small group of 16 Refuseniks, two non-Jews, tried to leave in an small 12 seater Antonov plane they hijacked. But they got caught and were incarcerated resulting in the Dymshits-Kuznetsov affair in 1970, which caused international outrage and condemnation resulting in an increase of the emigration quota for Jews by the Soviet authorities. Gradually more and more Jews left, some adopting the status of refuges in western countries, especially the United States.

In 1989 about 71,000 Soviet Jews were granted permission to leave, and only 12,117 immigrated to Israel. In that same year the United States decided to change its immigration policy of unconditionally granting Soviet Jews refuge in the States, while the Soviet authorities ended their restrictions on Jewish emigration. In 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed giving way to a million Jews to make Aliyah to Israel. Of these 240,000 were not Jews according to Rabbinical Law but eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return. The number of non-Jews immigrating to Israel under this Law has been on the increase since 1989.

Latin America

Since 1999 an exodus of Jewish people out of Latin America has been taking place. The 1999-2002 Argentine political and economic crises affected the Jewish community of about 200,000 Jews. About 4,4000 of them decided to make Aliyah, and since 2000 more than 10,000 Argentine Jews moved to Israel. But, when the economy improved some moved back to Argentine, although Aliyah of Argentine Jews did continue.

During this same period half of the Uruguayan Jewish community of an estimated 40,000 Jewish people left mainly to Israel. Venezuelan Jews have also been leaving due to the increasing anti-Semitism and violence against Jews in the country. More than half of the Jewish community of about 20,000 Jews made Aliyah by November 2010


There are Jewish people who do not make Aliyah, but who make preparations in case they decide to move to Israel. Since the mid 1990s there have been Jews from the United States and France who purchased property in Israel to potentially make Aliyah in the future. The French Jews experience increasing anti-Semitism and so do Jews in other European countries. Because of that more than 13,000 French Jews made Aliyah between 2000 and 2009. But, about 20% to 30% move back to France. Since 2012 about 300,000 French Jews live in Israel. In 2012 Aliyah from Europe brought about 3,243 Jewish people to Israel, which was an increase of 6% compared to the previous year. Aliyah from the Benelux – Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg – however dropped with 26 % that same year, to 209 arrivals in Israel.

According to Yinon Cohen of Tel Aviv University some 6,000 Jews live in France and a total of less than 3,000 lives in Spain, Italy and Portugal. The United Kingdom has the second largest population of Jews in Europe, approximately 300,000, with an estimate of 40, 000 living in London alone. Currently the Netherlands has a total population of about 41,000 to 45,000 Jews. 

Germany had a large Jewish population of 214,000 Jews before World War II. During the war 90% didn't survive the Shoah, Holocaust. Of the 100,000 German Jews who fled to other European countries a substantial number were killed by the Nazis who declared Germany as being judenrein (clean of Jews) or judenfrei (free of Jews) in 1943.Ultimately about 15,000 Jews survived and were joined by 200,000 Eastern European Jews whom were marked as displaced person (DPs) staying in Allied- and UN-administrated refugee camps. After the Israeli independence in 1948, most left and the 10,000 to 15,000 who stayed were joined much later in the 1990s by others when West and East Germany were unified. Today about 200,000 German Jews live in Germany, which is the third largest Jewish community in Europe.

North America

The motives North American Jews have for Aliyah tend to be the same as that for Western Europeans. They make Aliyah more for religious, ideological, and political reasons and not for financial or security ones. There has been a steady influx of North American Jews into Israel since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, with a minimum in between 1948 and 1967. In the 1950s about 6,000 North American Jews made Aliyah to Israel and all but 1,000 returned. In the 1960s after the Six-Day War in 1967, a record number of about 60,000 Jews made Aliyah, but at a later date some moved back to the country they came from. In 2009 about 3,324 North American Jews made Aliyah.

There are nowadays still several organizations besides the Jewish Agency of Israel that assists Jewish people to make Aliyah. The non-profit organization Nefesh B'nefesh, on Youtube, for instance that works in close cooperation with the Jewish Agency, the Israeli government, and several major Jewish organizations. This organization aims to encourage Aliyah from North America and the United Kingdom while providing financial assistance, employment services, social guidance, and streamlined governmental procedures both in the pre-Aliyah as in the post-Aliyah process.

Developed Jewish nation

The Jewish State of Israel, with Jerusalem as its capital city, has an estimated population of 8,051,200 people in 2013, with 75,3% of them being Jewish. Today Israel is a developed country that has one of the highest life expectancies in the world,and the highest standard of living in the Middle East and the third highest in Asia. according to international standards. Israel is a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). An international economic organization of 34 countries that aims to stimulate economic progress and world wide trade. 

On the latest index list of the United Nations (UN) Human Developing Index (HDI) - a statistical measure of a countries level of human development - of the 47 highest ranking countries, covering the period up to 2012, Israel is ranked 16. In comparison the United States is ranked 3 and the United Kingdom 27 on the list. The HDI, contrary to GDP that only measures the domestic productivity and income per capita of a country, takes into account how income is turned into education and health opportunities, and therefore into higher levels of human development.

To many Jewish people the assimilation to and absorption into the Israeli culture and society has been challenging. And Aliyah itself may have been a difficult and many times hazardous journey for hundreds of thousands of Jewish people. Still it has been a rewarding one, for a nation has been revived, including its language, within its own land, the Land of Israel. This is something that has never happened before in the history of mankind. But, according to continually unfolding biblical prophecies, Aliyah will still be on going until the realization of all future things to come for Israel.


Related Articles

Aliyah an overview: the Promised Land Part I of IV
Aliyah an overview: the Jewish Homeland Part II of IV
Aliyah an overview: the Jewish Kingdom of Israel part IV of IV
Religious Zionism: Judaism the spark to the Zionist Movement

Israel Part 1 Balfour Declaration: British Mandate for Palestine
Jewish Diaspora
Israel's history and boarders through ages, maps.
No! No Auschwitz borders for Israel.
Arab Israeli War 1948 and 1967.

And yet, Hitler failed!
Hating Jews: never ending story!
Hitler's genocide excuse made in ... Part 1 of 5




Author: © Mrs A. vd Laan-LeitoPosted in: History