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New private company offers concierge service to ‘olim’

Belong seeks to supplement the efforts of the Jewish Agency and Nefesh B’Nefesh.

These immigrants to Israel from around the world appear in a video accompanying the April 2024 launch of the Belong aliyah concierge service company. Photo: Courtesy.
These immigrants to Israel from around the world appear in a video accompanying the April 2024 launch of the Belong aliyah concierge service company. Photo: Courtesy.

A private company promoting aliyah has been established to facilitate integration into Israeli society and offer immigrants a smoother landing in the Holy Land.

The move comes as the six-month-old war against Hamas in Gaza triggered by the Oct. 7 massacre has spurred a shockwave of antisemitism around the globe.

The for-profit company, dubbed Belong, aims to harness the private sector to help immigrants assimilate via a paid concierge service, and plans to carry out an active campaign promoting aliyah around the world.

“Moving to Israel is just the start,” Belong CEO Eilon Gilad told JNS on Monday. “Integrating into Israel—and belonging—is the journey and the challenge.”

Belong seeks to supplement the efforts of the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency for Israel and the nonprofit Nefesh B’Nefesh organization, which facilitates aliyah from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, he said. 

“It is time for the private sector to step in and not just leave it for government organizations,” Gilad said.

At the same time, he added, “certain sectors” of Diaspora Jewry were being neglected by the established immigration agencies for political reasons; the company plans to reach out to them.

A Jewish Agency spokeswoman had no immediate comment.

A Nefesh B’Nefesh spokeswoman said that the company was not the first concierge service for new immigrants in Israel, and that Nefesh B’Nefesh wants to be sure that whatever advice they offer is both official and credible.

Belong CEO Eilon Gilad.

‘Opportunities and options ’

Belong’s launch was originally planned for November but delayed because of the outbreak of the war, which only further reinforced its founders’ sense of mission.

“We want to support aliyah not just because of antisemitism but because of the opportunities and options here,” Gilad said. “Our enemies are trying to get us out of here but we need to do the opposite and bring more people here to diversify and reinforce Israel.”

A video released by the company last week with its official launch features immigrants to Israel from around the world urging Diaspora Jews to follow their lead as a direct response to the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack

Leveraging its contacts from the private sector, the company, whose leaders hail from the hi-tech sector, aims to offer a directory to certified service providers for everyday life in Israel after the immigration process is completed via the Jewish Agency or Nefesh B’Nefesh. It will offer a concierge service at a charge of 1,000 shekels or $270 a month to facilitate everything from help with banking services to accommodations and taxi services, Gilad said.

The organization, which currently employs a staff of nine, will initially focus on North American immigrants and then aim to branch out to those from South America, Spain and France, he said.

The profits from the company, which is being financed by its founder, Israeli entrepreneur Gilad Ramot, will go back into the company for impact investment.

(Impact investing refers to investments made to generate a beneficial social or environmental impact alongside a financial return.)

“We were looking for a purpose in life, something with values to do,” Gilad said.

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