Yom HaAliyah celebrates the 10th of Nisan (יום העלייה – י’ ניסן) as a national holiday. It is on this date in the year 2488 that the first mass Aliyah in history took place, when the Children of Israel crossed the Yarden into Eretz Yisrael. Led by Yehoshua, Am Yisrael carried the Holy Ark on dry land across the river as the waters split. It was at Gilgal that the tribes erected a monument of twelve stones to commemorate this historic and miraculous event. Since that original beautiful act of Zionism, the Jewish People have been striving to come Home and build up this Land. The modern holiday honors Aliyah as a core value of the State of Israel and the contributions Olim make to our society. The Ministry of Education will also celebrate Yom HaAliyah and the meaning of the 10th of Nisan in schools on the 7th of Cheshvan, around Parshat Lech Lecha.
From the founding of the modern State of Israel, our country has relied on Aliyah and the immense value that Olim bring to our Nation. We celebrate the Oleh, and the value of Aliyah on this date, reaffirming its importance for the present and future of our People.
The New Law
Yom HaAliyah began as a grassroots young Olim movement, and in March 2014, thanks to the lobbying efforts of our dedicated TLV Internationals community, the Yom HaAliyah Bill was first submitted in the 19th Knesset as the next step in codifying the 10th of Nisan holiday as Israeli law. In an act of beautiful unity, the Yom HaAliyah Bill was signed by a diverse non-partisan block of the Knesset’s major political parties. The Members of Knesset that initially submitted the bill deserve the acknowledgement and gratitude of Am Yisrael; MK Gila Gamliel (Likud), MK Hilik Bar (Avoda), MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beiteinu), and MK Yoel Razvozov (Yesh Atid). After the fall of the 19th Knesset, the groundswell of public support quickly brought the Yom HaAliyah Bill back into the parliamentary limelight under the leadership of MK Micki Zohar (Likud), MK Michael Oren (Kulanu), MK Hilik Bar, and MK Avraham Negosa (Likud). The law was so universally supported with a wide consensus across the political spectrum, amongst the collation and the opposition, that multiple identical bills were submitted to help bolster the support for this noble initiative. The proposed Yom HaAliyah law was co-signed by a significant number of other MKs representing all Zionist political parties in the 20th Knesset including, Likud, Avoda/Zionist Union, HaBayit HaYehudi, Yisrael Beiteinu, Kulanu, Yesh Atid, and Shas.
On June 21st 2016, Yom HaAliyah overwhelmingly passed its final vote on the floor of the Knesset. The first clause of the law states:
מטרתו של חוק זה לקבוע יום ציון שנתי להכרה בחשיבותה של העלייה לארץ ישראל כבסיס לקיומה של מדינת ישראל, להתפתחותה ולעיצובה כחברה רב תרבותית, ולציון מועד הכניסה לארץ ישראל שאירע ביום י’ בניסן
Long before the establishment of the State of Israel, the Biblical mandate of “Kibbutz Galiyot”, the in-gathering of the Jewish People from the four corners of the globe back to our Homeland, was a core conviction and focus of prayer for millions of Jews around the world over the millennia. Aliyah then became the foundational principle of the modern Zionist movement, which brought Jews to the Land then controlled by the Ottomans and British as early as the late-19th century.
For thousands of years, Aliyah has been the motivating force for Jews who never gave up the dream of Jewish self-determination and independence in our national Home, and thanks to the previous generation of pioneering Olim that came before, today is the easiest time in history for a Jew to live in the Land of Israel. Although there has always been a Jewish presence on the Land, the Jews are unique in that we are the only ancient people that have been exiled in mass and made the momentous return to our ancestral Homeland. We have a lot to rejoice about. This bill of national celebration will help us do just that and we all look forward to Jewish Diaspora communities around the world joining in the jubilation.
Yom HaAliyah is a chance for Israel to reach out to all Jews throughout the world and say that Israel is not a place for them to just consider living in; this is their Home. With this new national holiday, the Jewish People can celebrate Israel as the country to come to by choice, not just as a refuge from adversity.
Yom HaAliyah will also help revive the spirit of Aliyah in Israel so Israelis from all walks of life can mark the contribution of those in their families who made the creation and development of the first Jewish state in 2,000 years a glorious reality.
The famous words of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ring true today as they did all those years ago; “Aliyah is the central goal of the State of Israel.”