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Aliyah Definition

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Aliyah -  (Hebrew) 1. "Going Up;" refers to immigration to Israel or the holy land, a term in use since the dispersion or before, and referred to in the book of Ezra. 2. One of several waves of immigration (Aliyot ) in modern Zionist history.

About 400,000 Jews in all (after accounting for emigrants) immigrated to Israel in the five pre-state Aliyot and illegal immigration.

In the first three years of its existence, Israel took in over 500,000 new immigrants. These included displaced persons (DPs) who had survived the Nazi Holocaust and were concentrated in camps in Europe, awaiting permission to immigrate during the mandate period, about 49,000 Yemenite Jews (most of the Jewish population of Yemen) brought over in operation magic carpet and 114,000 Iraqi Jews who fled Iraq in Operation Ezra and Nehemia. The total number of immigrants in those three years was nearly as great as the Jewish population of Israel. Israel was still fighting a war in 1948, and had no money to house these immigrants and no employment opportunities. Immigrants lived in tents and afterwards for many years were housed in Ma'abarot - transit camps with poor housing, sanitation and other facilities. To finance the immigration, the government instituted a draconic rationing system, the tzena, supervised by finance minister Dov Yosef, the same man who had organized the rationing system in Jerusalem during the War of Independence. Immigrants from Arab countries, who had no relatives in Israel and nobody from their countries in high government positions, suffered most. The poverty and hardship of this period left bitter memories for many, but the ingathering of exiles in such heroic proportions secured Israel as a viable state with a reasonable population size, and helped to generate the highest economic growth rate in the world for well over a decade.

More recent mass immigrations included the Jews of Ethiopia and Russian Jews. About 14,000 Ethiopian Jews  were brought to Israel in the Operation Solomon air-lift in 1991, while others trecked through Africa to reach transit  points. A small trickle of Soviet Jews had been allowed into Israel over the years. The collapse of communism in the USSR brought a mass immigration - about 100,000 Jews came to Israel from the countries of the former Soviet Union each year for a decade. This immigration has slowed to a trickle because the remaining Jews in those countries are not interested in immigration, and because of the worsening security situation in Israel since 2000.

Other immigrations - Israel took in about 30,000 Persian Jews after the collapse of the regime of the Shah, as well as large proportions of the Egyptian and Moroccan Jewish communities, Kurdish and Turkish Jews, Indian Jews and Jews from every country in Europe and the American continent, South Africa and Australia.  Small numbers of refugees from Vietnam and Bosnia were also given refuge and homes in Israel.


Synonyms and alternate spellings: Aliya, Aliyah Alia, Aliyot (plural), immigration

Further Information: Aliyot


Hebrew/Arabic pronunciation and transliteration conventions:

'H - ('het) a guttural sound made deep in the throat. To Western ears it may sound like the "ch" in loch. In Arabic there are several letters that have similar sounds. Examples: 'hanukah, 'hamas, 'haredi. Formerly, this sound was often represented by ch, especially in German transliterations of Hebrew. Thus, 'hanukah is often rendered as Chanuka for example.

ch - (chaf) a sound like "ch" in loch or the Russian Kh as in Khruschev or German Ach, made by putting the tongue against the roof of the mouth. In Hebrew, a chaf can never occur at the beginning of a word. At the beginning of a word, it has a dot in it and is pronounced "Kaf."

u - usually between oo as in spoon and u as in put.

a- sounded like a in arm

ah- used to represent an a sound made by the letter hey at the end of a word. It is the same sound as a. Haganah and Hagana are alternative acceptable transliterations.

'a-notation used for Hebrew and Arabic ayin, a guttural ah sound.

o - close to the French o as in homme.

th - (taf without a dot) - Th was formerly used to transliterate the Hebrew taf sound for taf without a dot. However in modern Hebrew there is no detectable difference in standard pronunciation of taf with or without a dot, and therefore Histadruth and Histadrut, Rehovoth and Rehovot are all acceptable.

q- (quf) - In transliteration of Hebrew and Arabic, it is best to consistently use the letter q for the quf, to avoid confusion with similar sounding words that might be spelled with a kaf, which should be transliterated as K. Thus, Hatiqva is preferable to Hatikva for example.


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This work and individual entries are copyright 2005 by Ami Isseroff and Zionism and Israel Information Center and may not reproduced in any form without permission unless explicitly noted otherwise. Individual entries may be cited with credit to The Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Zionism and Israel

 

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