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October 7, 2014 11:07 am

Christian-Jewish Group Plans Major Push for Immigration to Israel

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A happy couple makes aliyah as part of El Al Flight LY 3004 on July 22, 2014. Photo: Sasson Tiram. – The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) plans to substantially increase its efforts to increase immigration to Israel, especially from countries in the former Soviet Union.

Heading up the initiative will be Eli Cohen, the former head of the Jewish Agency for Israel’s aliyah department. While formal plans have not been announced, the IFCJ, which has in the past worked closely with the Jewish Agency and other immigration-focused Jewish organizations, has indicated that it will likely now work on its own to increase aliyah.

“I view increasing the number of new immigrants to Israel as a Zionist project and as a central pillar of the work of The Fellowship to support Israeli society and assist Jews in need of help across the world,” IFCJ President Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein told eJewishPhilanthropy.

Founded in 1983, the IFCJ promotes understanding between Jews and Christians. The group has raised more than a billion dollars—mostly from Christian donors—for Jewish immigration, social programs in Israel, and aid for struggling Jewish communities around the world.

More recently, the IFCJ has been involved in stepping up aliyah from Ukraine amid the instability and conflict with Russian-backed rebel groups, spending millions of dollars on emergency aid and putting together flights to Israel for the Jewish community there.

Last May, Eckstein was honored with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s Raoul Wallenberg Award for his “profound contribution to the Jewish people” as the head of IFCJ.

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