A new national holiday to celebrate the contribution of immigrants to Israel has passed into law.
Figures from the government and opposition backed the Yom HAliyah bill following a campaign by TLV Internationals, the largest olim organisation in Israel.
The date of the holiday will be 10th Nisan which holds great biblical significance in Jewish history. According to the Torah, this is the first recorded mass Aliyah, when Joshua crossed the Yarden at Gilgal with all the Jewish People.
TLV Internationals has been marking the day for a number of years with barbecues and performances by olim bands. And while the new law won’t mean an extra day off work for Israelis, it is hoped tens of thousands more will now join the celebrations. The ministry of education will also institute a day of programming for students as part of the new bill.
Jay Shultz, Founder of TLV Internationals and President of the Am Yisrael Foundation, said: “Aliyah doesn’t just affect us all in terms of who we are as a people but impacts on the day to day reality of this country. It’s not just celebrating grandparents but what is helping to build this country now. Everyone coming today is still part of the pioneering phase.
“It is the ideal of Aliyah and the pioneering contributions of Olim in each generation that make this the easiest time in history to be a Jew living in the Land of Israel.”
The bill was proposed by Micki Zohar of Likud, Hilik Bar of Avoda and Michael Oren of Kulanu. Shultz said he hoped Jewish communities around the globe would also hold activities.