As the nation of Venezuela continues to descend into a state of instability and chaos, Venezuelan Jews stand out as especially vulnerable, with The Fellowship the only organization on the ground providing them with support and an opportunity to escape. JNS' Adam Abrams explains how The Fellowship and our faithful donors are saving lives - and providing prophetic aliyah (immigration to Israel) - for this Jewish community in dire need:
“There is no value to life right now in Venezuela,” Adele Tarrab, a Venezuelan Jew who moved to Israel with her family in 2015, told JNS.org. “I’ve actually seen people get killed for bread.”
Venezuela was once home to a thriving Jewish community, one of the largest in South America, with around 25,000 members in 1999. The crumbling economy caused many of the country’s Jews to flee, with the vast majority heading to Miami, Mexico and Panama. Some 9,000 Jews are believed to still reside in Venezuela.
“We love Venezuela,” Tarrab said. “It’s a beautiful country. We still have family there, but they want to leave.”
In late July, a group of 26 new Venezuelan immigrants arrived in Israel, with the Israeli government and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) facilitating their aliyah.
The Fellowship says it is the only organization on the ground in Venezuela assisting the Jewish community with aliyah. During the past year and half, the organization has brought 153 Venezuelan Jews to Israel, and has helped the immigrants obtain thousands of dollars in support to get on their feet.
“In the past four years we’ve seen a deterioration in the situation of the people of Venezuela,” The Fellowship’s founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, told JNS.org. “Many of the olim (immigrants) that we have brought to Israel have not been able, literally, to put bread on the table...”