Israelis living in the UK are being encouraged to return to live in Israel this year, for the country’s 60th anniversary.
The Ministry of Absorption is working with the Jewish Agency to try to entice expats living in both the UK and North America.
The initiative, Returning Home on Israel’s 60th, includes certain benefits. One of the most important of these is that the fee people returning to the country are usually required to pay to the national health service insurance system will be refunded.
Representatives from Israel’s Ministry of Absorption along with Jewish Agency delegates held three events in London and Manchester this week, to provide information and advice on the initiative.
Meira Katz, head of the Aliyah Department at the Jewish Agency in London, said: “We are encouraging people to return and come home now because of the 60th anniversary. The government is focusing strongly on this.”
In a separate initiative, American Rabbi Shalom Rosner was also in the UK this week to encourage Britons to make aliyah to a new English-speaking community he will be creating in Nofei HaShemesh, near Jerusalem.
He spoke at the Ner Yisrael Synagogue in London during the Shabbat service, and again at a meeting on Sunday, and also visited Manchester where he spoke to people at Prestwich Synagogue.
Rabbi Rosner, who will move to Nofei HaShemesh with his wife and six children in August, refuted suggestions that he would be creating an Anglo-ghetto. “We want to be as integrated as possible into Israeli society. The children will attend local schools where they will be speaking Hebrew.
“The idea behind the community is to make people feel as comfortable as possible when they take such a major step as moving country.”
He was optimistic despite the devaluation of the dollar in recent months. “There are always challenges, and I think that the possibilities that exist now are greater than they have been for any generation that’s preceded us, despite the financial challenges,” he said.
The community is being supported by the Jewish Agency and Nefesh B’Nefesh.