Greater Exodus

Illustrative: Immigrants arriving in Israel at Ben-Gurion Airport (Photo: Nir Kafri/ The Jewish Agency for Israel)

On Friday evening, April 15 we will celebrate the feast of Passover (Pesach in Hebrew). Passover is the first biblical feast of Israel and begins the yearly biblical calendar. It commemorates God’s deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt. It’s a feast of salvation and freedom. 

In traditional Jewish life, every Passover, families meet together for a special meal, called a Seder in Hebrew. It includes drinking four cups of wine, eating unleavened bread, partaking of symbolic food, and reclining at the table in celebration of freedom. 

However, God foretold us in His word about a greater Exodus that will take place in the future.

“Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when they shall no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the Lord lives who brought up and led the offspring of the house of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ Then they shall dwell in their own land.” (Jer 23:7-8)

I believe we are seeing this prophecy coming to pass. Currently we are witnessing an unprecedented return of our people to the Promise Land. Many people are now choosing to make aliyah (a term used for Jews returning to Israel).

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, Israel began to see a wave of Immigration. By the end of March, about 16,000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Israel, including 5,000 eligible for citizenship under the Law of Return. There is also a large group of immigration coming from Russia, the one who launched the war!

In the beginning of April, our government predicted that a total somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 immigrants from Ukraine and Russia would arrive in Israel by the end of June. Israel is not a big country, it has a population of 9.3 million. 

We are facing a new challenge not just receiving our Jewish relatives but to help them integrate into society, finding their place in Israel. This is a big task and honestly, Israel has failed in the past with the process of absorbing those returning to Israel. 

In previous waves of aliyah, many could not find decent jobs in their profession like they had in the land of their exodus. As a result, many of those who arrived in Israel were disappointed, worked low paying jobs, had families split up and some even ended up on drugs or in prison. These stories you will never hear much about from news outlets. Suitable jobs need to be available for these new immigrants, and the number of courses to teach them Hebrew has to increase.