Dear Gvahim Family Members,

A few days ago, I traveled through the Negev with my family and, among the places we visited, was the gravesite of David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Ben-Gurion led a humble life, his leadership focused on ending 2,000 years of exile and creating a national home for the Jewish people. Aliyah was fundamental to him, and he faced extremely difficult challenges, including the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Olim during the first years of our country’s history.

It struck me very much that on his gravestone, in addition to the years of his birth (1886) and death (1973), the date of his Aliyah (1906) is also inscribed. I believe that those of us who are Olim will always remember the date of our Aliyah, a watershed event between the life in our country of origin, and our life in Israel.

In a couple of weeks’ time, we will be celebrating the beginning of a new year with the arrival of Rosh Hashanah. It seems to me that this is a good moment to reflect on this past year, especially with the arrival of COVID-19.

The world has changed dramatically, and there have been consequences in terms of Aliyah and employment. During 2019, nearly 35 thousand Olim arrived in Israel. However, during 2020, it is expected that the number of Olim will reach only half of this number. Moreover, the unemployment rate among Olim is double that of the national average, which creates a huge challenge for all those who have arrived in the country in recent months.

Nevertheless, there are signs of optimism. Companies have started to recruit for positions that are very interesting and relevant Olim. Every day, at Gvahim, we hear of more and more Olim securing work, thanks to the network of connections, mentors, and one-on-one consulting that we offer. During this past year, we reached a peak in demand for Olim job-seekers and entrepreneurs. An increasing number of Olim use our services, starting with the promotion of Aliyah—through our Aliyah Prep and Tech Heights programs—and continuing with our Gvahim Career Center (GCC) and Gvahim Entrepreneurship Center (GEC). Gvahim’s community of alumni, Israeli companies, mentors, and experts is very engaged and continuously growing.

All of this fills us with pride and satisfaction, and we will continue our intense efforts to help Olim from all over the world.

In the name of Gvahim board members and team, I wish you a Shana Tova Umetuka. May we have a year filled with positive changes, health, and peace in Israel and worldwide.

Juan Taifeld, CEO – Gvahim