(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Israel celebrated its first Aliyah Day with a ceremony at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem Tuesday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, and Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky attended the ceremony.
In June, the Aliyah Day law was passed to recognize the importance of immigration to Israel and its development as a multicultural society. The law designated Aliyah Day as the seventh day of the Hebrew month of Heshvan, coinciding with the reading of the Lech Lecha Torah portion, which describes the divine commandment directing Abraham to go to the land of Israel.
"The democratic values of the Jewish state, our military might, our economic strength, our adherence to progress, our scientific and technological innovations, draw hundreds of new immigrants, each one of whom contributes to the bolstering of those values and strengths," Netanyahu said at the ceremony. "We have immigrants here from every continent. They understand that Israel today is undergoing a major transformation, they see the stability and the prosperity, and it's one of the reasons they aspire to intertwine their fate with ours."
Landver, who had immigrated to Israel 37 years ago, said she is "proud and excited that for the first time, Israel is marking a day commemorating immigration to Israel."
"All those immigrants, from the first wave of immigration to Israel to the fifth, from Operation Moses and Solomon to the new immigrants—they are all composed of the ingathering of exiles called the state of Israel," she said.