President Herzog: “Despite the challenges dictated by the coronavirus pandemic, Jews all around the world have interpreted the situation as a call to come here, as an opportunity to come home. And since this is the case, this is the best possible time—indeed, this is our duty, as the State of Israel—to encourage innovation, employment, and integration into industry among the men and women making aliyah to Israel.”
Today, President Isaac Herzog participated in an event in honor of Yom HaAliyah hosted by Gvahim, a non-profit that provides networks, tools, knowledge, and support to new immigrants and returning expatriates to help them find employment or build businesses in Israel. Also participating were Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tameno-Shete MK, Gvahim chairwoman Elisabeth Kogan, Gvahim CEO Juan Taifeld, former Weizmann Institute president and Israel Science Foundation chairman (and one-time immigrant from Belgium) Prof. Daniel Zajfman, new immigrants, and entrepreneurs.
President Herzog opened his remarks by saying: “I must say that ‘Integration Week,’ which we experienced this week, is in my mind one of the most moving weeks we have. I want to congratulate first of all the new and more veteran immigrants, who left everything, crossed oceans, linguistic and cultural gaps, endured longing and separation, and came here, to the home that belongs to all of us. And alongside them, the activists and leaders of the wonderful NGO Gvahim, chiefly chairwoman Elisabeth Kogan and CEO Juan Taifeld. Dear friends, as a non-profit that has raised the banner of promoting and supporting immigrants with university degrees, and accompanying and helping them in their work and social lives—you are really doing God’s work, a mission that is only becoming more important in times like these.”
President Herzog addressed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and said: “I assume that I am not telling you anything new when I say that COVID-19 sprung a pleasant surprise on some people, in terms of aliyah to Israel. Despite the challenges dictated by the coronavirus pandemic, Jews all around the world have interpreted the situation as a call to come here, as an opportunity to come home. And since this is the case, this is the best possible time—indeed, this is our duty, as the State of Israel—to encourage innovation, employment, and integration into industry among the men and women making aliyah to Israel. The integration of new immigrants is important in all walks of life, but there is no doubt that their contribution to the worlds of innovation and technology, to science, and of course to the whole hi-tech universe can and must be a genuine game changer. You at Gvahim read this duty as an immediate call to action. You are working incessantly for this important cause, which is turning aliyah to Israel into a movement of professionals.”
President Herzog added: “The importance of this event, to a large degree, lies in the fact that it places center-stage the huge potential and contribution of aliyah to the State of Israel and Israeli society, in all walks of life. We must remember that at the simplest level—the State of Israel would not be the same country without aliyah. It wouldn’t be the same country in terms of quantity, and it wouldn’t be the same in terms of quality. That is why the important task of Gvahim is inestimably essential for us nowadays.”