Aliyah (immigration to Israel) literally means to “go up” (to Zion). The first celebration took place with a special ceremony in the Knesset.
“I will not give up on a single Jew or a single immigrant,” said Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky, who was a Prisoner of Zion in the former Soviet Union in the 1970s and 80s. “I say to all Jews, without distinction, that I want them and their prayers and their rabbis here in Israel. There is room for all of us here.”
The holiday will be observed each year on the seventh of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan (which falls in October or November). This coincides with the reading of the Torah Portion that begins with God telling Abraham to leave his home and go to the Land of Israel (Genesis 12:1-3).
“Aliyah is the foundation of the state of the Jews,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “[It is] the fulfillment of the biblical prophecy of the Jewish people returning to their land and building it.”